November 21, 2017

Last year, over 55 million calls to Centrelink went unanswered, and people are waiting longer to talk to Centrelink.

Jenny Macklin was in Tamworth with David Ewings today discussing this issue with concerned residents.

Pensioners, people with disability and their carers are now waiting between 19 minutes and half an hour to speak with Centrelink.

Centrelink is in crisis under Malcolm Turnbull.

55.3 million phone calls to Centrelink went unanswered in the 2016-17 fiscal year, up from 29 million calls in 2015-16 and 22 million calls in 2014-15.

Around 40% of these calls were from families calling about family and parenting support and around 20% from people with disability and their carers and people claiming sickness benefits.

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

In October, the Turnbull Government 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 properly trained to deal with the complex issues facing Australians who require income support.

The Liberals and Nationals simply want to make it so difficult for Australians to claim income support that they just give up.

Turnbull and the Liberal-Nationals are completely out of touch with the lives of ordinary Australians.