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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10032

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (13:42): 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, my constituents are telling me the exact opposite.

Why, just yesterday, my office was contacted by a father who works full time and is 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 one afternoon and, every time, got the engaged signal. 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.

According to the minister, the Centrelink system has been fixed. But, frankly, that is patent nonsense, and either he knows that or he's being misled.