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Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Page: 4218


(Question No. 898)

Ms Marino asked the Minister for Human Services, in writing, on 14 March 2012:

(1) How many staff are employed in the Medicare Bunbury Office in the Stirling Centre, WA?

(2) Is it a fact that there are plans to collocate the Medicare Bunbury Office to the Centrelink Bunbury Office on Wittenoom Street; if so,

(i) why,

(ii) what is the estimated timeframe for the collocation,

(iii) what consultation with Bunbury Medicare customers has been conducted to gauge their views about this collocation,

(iv) how many Medicare specific staff workers will be in the collocated office,

(v) will the current level of customer service in the Medicare Bunbury office be maintained in the Centrelink office, and

(vi) after collocation, will the number of parking bays outside the Centrelink offices be increased, if so, by how many.

Mr Brendan O'Connor: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Eleven staff (equating to 8.09 full-time equivalent), including one manager and ten customer-service staff members are employed in the Department of Human Services (DHS) Service Centre offering Medicare services in the Stirling Centre, Bunbury, WA.

(2) The consolidation of the DHS service centres in Bunbury, which currently offer Medicare and Centrelink services in separate locations, is currently under consideration for co-location.

(i) The consolidation of the service centres is being considered as part of the government's service delivery reform to significantly improve service delivery to customers, especially in key life stages such as bereavement, separation or birth of a new child. It would create a one-stop shop for Bunbury residents, allowing them to access all Medicare and Centrelink services in one location.

(ii) The consolidation is under consideration. At this point, no timeframe has been decided.

(iii) DHS experience of previous colocations is that customers value the change and support the integrated approach to service delivery. Consolidation of DHS services in any community is assessed carefully to ensure that customers continue to experience a high level of service and accessibility. Assessments include property and security considerations, and advice from local DHS staff who are aware of community preferences. The community is engaged through a range of channels to ensure they are aware of any changes to services in their community.

(iv) If co-location occurred in Bunbury, the existing customer-service staff members would continue to provide Medicare services at the consolidated service centre.

(v) Yes

(vi) The provision of customer parking is a consideration of the property and accessibility assessment of all consolidating sites, to ensure that customers continue to enjoy convenient access to DHS services.