October 26, 2017

A shocking 55 million phone calls to Centrelink went unanswered in the 2016-17 financial year.

55 million unanswered calls to Centrelink!

That’s up 26 million missed calls from the previous year.

It means that every hour, around 27,000 calls to Centrelink are going unanswered.

Centrelink is in crisis under the Turnbull Government.

Department of Human Services officials revealed the shocking figure at a Senate estimates hearing last night, following a question from Labor Senator, Lisa Singh.

Previous estimates hearings revealed that 42 million calls to Centrelink went unanswered in the first 10 months of the 2016-17 financial year, 29 million in the 2015-16 financial year, and 22 million in the 2014-15 financial year.

Of the 42 million unanswered calls to Centrelink between July 2016 and April 2017, 39% or 16,299,671 calls were from Australian families claiming family and parenting support.

18% or 7,557,963 calls were from Australians claiming disability, sickness or carers support.

And 17% or 7,135,979 calls were from Australians claiming study support.

These damning figures come after the Government cut 1,200 jobs from the Department of Human Services.

The Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge announced a new call centre to deal with the backlog of unanswered calls to be staffed by 250 Serco employees. We don’t know if they’re full time or permanent.

This simply isn’t good enough. Centrelink is under-resourced and understaffed.

Centrelink needs permanent, full-time staff, who are qualified and familiar with the often complex issues facing Australians who require income support.

Mr Turnbull simply wants to make it so difficult and so painful for Australians to claim income support, in the hope that they will just give up.

Mr Turnbull and the Conservatives are completely out of touch with the lives of ordinary Australians.


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