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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6152

Mr HILL (Bruce) (13:48): I rise to again call out this government for the growing crisis in human services—or inhuman services! Centrelink has become a national joke. You would have hoped with the new minister getting that hospital pass of trying to clean up the mess of the previous minister that things might now, six months in, have become a little better. But, no, things are getting worse. The latest statistics on call wait times show everything is up, up and up. There were 50 million plus unanswered calls to Centrelink. That is still trending up, and there are blowouts in the age pension waiting time. The average, so we're told, went from 36 days to 49 days. But that's not true. It is a game of snakes and ladders, as my constituents find out.

There is the case of Mr Johnson. He took 12 months to get his pension. It is an appalling experience. He is sick, so he needed the healthcare card. He tried to resolve this numerous times. It was unclear what information he needed. He gave them the same stuff over and over again. They said they'd lost it, and they rejected his claim. We had an appeal, but they said no. We had another appeal, then they said yes. They then gave the wrong date. I raised this in parliament, after writing to the minister to say this is not resolved. There was no response. I wrote again to the minister, and there was no response. Guess what? We've got a new round of privatisation. Not content with privatising 1,250 jobs in the budget, the government has now privatised the complaint service to News Corp. I told the Herald Sunand, within three hours of them calling the minister, we got a response. If you complain to a newspaper, you might get a response.