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Major expansion of rural Centrelink services.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Hon Warren Truss MP

Minister for Community Services

 

Under Embargo until 10:30am (EST) -28 January, 1999

 

MAJOR EXPANSION OF RURAL CENTRELINK SERVICES

 

More than 100 new Centrelink service outlets will be opened throughout rural and regional Australia, the Minister for Community Services, Warren Truss, has announced today.

 

Mr Truss said the Federal Coalition Government’s strategy to extend Centrelink services will ensure that people living in rural and regional Australia have better access to benefits and services.

 

“Under Centrelink’s Rural Outreach program, Centrelink will progressively enhance the way people in rural and regional Australia can access the Age Pension, Newstart allowance, Family Payments, Retirement Assistance for Farmers and other Government services,” Mr Truss said.

 

Centrelink’s Rural Outreach program will initially include:

·  74 new Centrelink agents. These agents will act on behalf of Centrelink in their local communities including some indigenous communities;

·  11 new Centrelink visiting services. Visiting services provide a regular, structured Centrelink service to local communities;

·  video conferencing facilities;

·  information kiosks;

·  a mobile career information service for southern NSW; and

·  establishment of self-help facilities such as phone, faxes, photocopying and internet access that can be used to conduct Centrelink business.

 

Many of these new initiatives build upon alliances developed between Centrelink and key commonwealth departments and agencies, as we ll as state and local governments.

 

Mr Truss said while Centrelink is placing an increased emphasis on technology to provide services to rural and remote areas, both Centrelink and the Government recognise the importance of face to face communications.

 

‘With the additional 85 Centrelink agents and Centrelink visiting Services, customers in rural and regional Australia will have increased access to face-to-face contact with Government representatives,” Mr Truss said.

 

“And where a Rural Outreach Agency is not viable, state-of-the-art video conferencing will allow customers to speak to a Centrelink officer hundreds of kilometres away,” Mr Truss said.

 

‘This Outreach program is a further example of the Coalition Government’s commitment to improve access to services for people living in rural and regional Australia.”

 

 

Contact: Andrew Hall - Media Adviser - 02 6277 7240   0419 996 766

Email: andrew.hall@dfcs.gov.au Web site: http://www.dfcs.gov.au

Ref: MR

 

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