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Centrelink: red-tape and rules but no money.

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Federal Member for Chifley

PO Box 259 Mt Druitt NSW 2770


27 th April 99




"About 400 people from one of three Centrelink offices servicing my electorate of Chifley will miss out on their Social Security payment due to Centrelink red-tape gone mad." Mr Roger Price MP Federal Member for Chifley said today. "I am not sure what the final figure is in my electorate, let alone Australia-wide.


"A large number of Centrelink customers, realising that Monday was a public holiday, tried to put their fortnightly forms in last Friday. However, they were knocked back by Centrelink staff who claimed that forms could not be lodged early. When they returned today they were told that their forms were overdue and as such they would be pushed to the back of the queue for payment. This is the classic Catch-22"


"Centrelink customers tried to do the right thing by lodging on Friday and Centrelink repaid them, not with the money that was due to them, but by mishandling the situation badly."


"Many of my constituents are without money tonight because of this bungling ineptitude."


"Why are counter-cheques not issued and those affected paid today? Why must people suffer at the hands of bureaucratic rules and red-tape when it would be simple to avoid the situation with a little computer programming or a change to the rules allowing a Friday lodgement for those affected by the public holiday?"


"It is the Howard Government that has tightened the rules on counter-cheques and given Centrelink no discretion to grant them. Simple common sense tells us that special arrangements must be made for public holidays. Common sense, however, seems to be desperately lacking with this government."


"It is a Government that seems to be oblivious to the needs of the local community or the disadvantaged in our society." Mr Price said. "Mr Howard might have enough in the bank to carry him an extra day, but many on Social Security in my electorate don't."


"Centrelink have responded by not responding, they are doing nothing to rectify the problem."



Media Contact: Steve Duffy  (02) 9625 4344




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