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$30 million to strengthen Department of Human Services call centres

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$30 million to strengthen Department of Human Services call centres

Senator the Hon Jan McLucas Minister for Human Services

14 May 2013

The Gillard Government is providing $30 million in the 2013-14 Budget to ensure the Department of Human Services can provide better services to Australians who call Centrelink for advice.

Minister for Human Services, Senator Jan McLucas said this funding would allow additional staff to be employed to act as a 'surge capability' in call centres.

"The Department received over 44 million Centrelink-related calls in 2011-12, that's around 160,000 calls per day," Senator McLucas said.

"This funding means we will now have a greater ability to match the availability of call centre staff with caller demand fluctuations and reduce call waiting times."

"Given the large number of calls, demand during the day and over a week can be highly variable and sometimes lead to wait times that are longer than are acceptable.

"Accordingly, the Department is working hard to continue to strengthen its telephone services, with a particular focus on those lines where people can sometimes experience longer wait times.

"We are also working on providing more flexible mobile, online and phone services so people can do their Centrelink business when and where it suits them," Senator McLucas said.

The Government recently launched a range of new phone apps that make it faster and easier for people to conduct their business, and introduced callback technology enabling a caller to maintain their place in the queue but elect to receive a callback rather than waiting on hold.

"There are also many self-service options for people using interactive phone technology and online services. Millions of people are registered for these services and use them every day to avoid the queues and get service when they want it."