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Chris Bevan: working for Tasmania’s Superannuants
MEET Chris Bevan, who’s on the Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants Executive and is a CPSU Life Member.
Chris spent his early career in the Public Works Department as an accounts clerk but always wanted to help with workplace issues.
“I had an Aunty, Aunty Patsy, who was my mum’s older sister. She worked for the CPSU and she was very active when it came to workers’ rights. Her ideas really influenced a lot of my beliefs in that regard. We would sit at the kitchen table and talk about unions and she really kept me focused in that way. She was a woman before her time.”
Moving to Forestry in 1982 this passion was further kindled after a 14-day training course about unions at Clyde Cameron Cottage.
“We learnt the history of unionism, what we’re fighting for and why. That really started to galvanise how I felt. So in 1984 I walked up two flights of steps in the Forestry building and said I wanted to work in industrial relations. Six months later I was transferred out of payroll and I became a junior industrial relations officer.”
Chris then joined the CPSU Council, then the union’s executive and then the finance committee.
“I like to volunteer for things. So if I was doing a training session, I am always the one up the front with my hand up saying I’ll do that.”
This activism led to Chris putting his hand up for a secondment to the CPSU.
“I worked at the union for six months doing a whole range of things, from sitting on consultative committees, when these things were becoming the vogue, dealing with redundancies, amalgamation of departments and the impact on relationships that would occur as a result. It was a very interesting time. The CPSU were terrific, I was let loose on a whole range of industrial matters and I loved it.”
His career led him back to Forestry but he remained a CPSU Councilor for as long as he could.
Retiring in 2002, Chris is now a CPSU Life Member. He’s remained active, was the Chair of Workskills for a number of years and a volunteer with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, where his wife works.
His wish to help and his knowledge of superannuation gleaned from his career led to him putting his hand up for the Tasmanian Association of State Superannuants(TASS) Executive.
TASS is all about improving the benefits of present and future superannuants who receive a superannuation pension from the defined benefits contributory scheme administered by RBF. TASS is not-for-profit and run by volunteers.
“Through my years in personnel and payroll, I was quite familiar with what was happening in the world of superannuation. About 12 months ago I found out about TASS and went along to the AGM last year. They had a couple of seats vacant on their executive so I put my hand up and took one of the seats.
“The primary issue we look at is indexation for superannuants. There’s a myth out there that people like myself are on fantastic pensions and we have it easy. There is a large percentage of state superannuants who are on a less than $30k a year as their life pension, which in some cases is a taxed pension.
“Unfunded liability has become a red herring in the political argument. CPI has pushed us behind and behind in what our money can do for us now. TASS has been fighting this for a long time.”
Prior to the election TASS contacted the major parties to a commitment to progress this issue of a fairer method of indexation of our superannuation following the election.
“At TASS we also help elderly superannuants with issues they’re having, if they have issues with understanding or even just the ability to get to RBF, for example if they live on the North-West Coast.”
Although a relative newcomer to TASS, and the youngest on the committee of 12, Chris is enjoying his time with the association. “Mentally it’s very stimulating and challenging because super is such a complex area.”
You can find out more about TASS and how to join here.
Brochures are also available in CPSU Offices.