Deputy Speaker, in response to my question yesterday about the difficulties with Centrelink services, the Minister refused to acknowledge a problem, and instead spouted a list of innovations making Centrelink sound like the most accessible, efficient, user-friendly system in the world. Well Deputy Speaker, my constituents are telling me the exact opposite.
Why just yesterday my office was contacted by a father who works full-time and who’s trying to access a families payment. For six days in a row he called the families line at various times and was unable to get through. So he went into the Centrelink office and was referred back to the families line. And Minister don’t tell me he should go and use mygov because this man has no computer and is not computer literate.
Moreover one of my staff recently called the disability support pension line more than 100 times in an afternoon and every time got the engaged signal.
And just last week I was contacted by a frontline worker in student support who said she’s increasingly seeing distressed students, unable to access payments, who can’t pay for textbooks, power, food and rent.
Deputy Speaker, according to the Minister the Centrelink system has been fixed. But frankly that’s patent nonsense and either he knows that, or he’s being misled.