Pillar is a government company that administers superannuation for a number of funds, including the fund for NSW government employees, First State Super. Pillar employs over 700 staff, mostly in Wollongong, where Pillar has been a long-term employer. Estimates are that it injects about $290 million into the economy every year, and that every new job at Pillar creates another 1.5 jobs in the local community.
In May 2016, the Government passed laws to sell Pillar. This puts its longstanding links with the Illawarra region at risk. The Government says that any new buyer must keep Pillar in Wollongong, but that only applies to ‘member services’. This could be as few as 30 workers.
Pillar is a well-run and profitable government company that brings in revenue for the people of NSW. This income stream will be lost forever after the sale. There’s also no way that the Government can make sure that Pillar remains an important driver of the economy in the Illawarra. The new owners of Pillar will want to maximise profits for its shareholders and will do so regardless of the impact on the local community.