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Centrelink waiting lists blow out.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Wayne Swan MP (Member for Lilley)

Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

 

Sunday 10 January 1999

 

Centrelink waiting lists blow out

 

It is now taking up to two weeks for people seeking jobs and financial assistance to be able to apply for Centrelink support.

 

People who apply for social security payments, like Newstart (unemployed) or Youth Allowance (youth unemployed and students) are facing unacceptable delays, with some being left high and dry, while they wait two or more weeks for an appointment to apply for payment.

 

The examples below are typical and demonstrate the Government’s claims most people only wait five days for an appointment, are simply not true.

 

Area

Delays 

Of up to

 

Area

Delays 

of up to

Capalaba

15 days

 

Ipswic h

8 days

Fitzroy

12 days

 

Newmarket

13 days

Hobart

10 days

 

Rockhampton

11 days

Inala

8 days

 

Southport

10 days

         

 

Area

Delays 

of up to

StKilda

14 days

Toowong

12 days

Wynuum

13 days

Yeppoon

10 days

 

The Government has dismissed the seriousnes s of this crisis, by claiming an application for assistance can be submitted without an interview. But page one of the Newstart Allowance Booklet instructs applicants to lodge their claim and job network forms during their interview .

 

The Howard Government’s attempts to deny and brazenly bluff out these figures shows their approach to Centrelink has more twists and turns than a cut snake.

 

Last year the Howard Government slashed $154 million out of Centrelink’s funding, which resulted in over 5000 jobs bein g cut from the Commonwealth agency.

 

To compound matters, recently there have been serious problems with both Newstart and Youth Allowance. Droves of confused clients having been trying to contact Centrelink, and anyone who has tried to reach Centrelink on the telephone can attest that it almost impossible to get through.

 

This is about human beings, not statistics. Once upon a time we had a public sector that had the resources to help people, now we have a demoralised run-down service, which the Government is secretly plotting to offload.

 

 

For further information call Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329

 

 

 

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