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Centrelink brings services back to the bush.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator Amanda Vanstone Minister for Family & Community Services Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women 80.03 25 July 2003 Centrelink Brings Services Back To The Bush Centrelink is reversing the trend by bringing services back to remote Australia. Thousands of people in the area surrounding Yarrabah in Far North Queensland will now have access to the full suite of Centrelink services. The new Remote Area Service Centre, which opens today in Yarrabah, will employ local people and be sensitive to the needs of the local Indigenous people. The Centre will connect with the Centrelink Agent Network to provide Indigenous communities such as Mourigan, Reeves Creek, Bessie Point, and Djenghi with the full range of Centrelink services. It will also be the base for visiting staff and specialists, such as social workers, Jobs, Education and Training Adviser and Personal Adviser, servicing Yarrabah and the surrounding communities. The opening is fantastic news for the communities located in and around Yarrabah, including the out-stations. It means Centrelink will be able to deliver Government services more effectively and more efficiently to Australians in the Yarrabah region. Services available at the Yarrabah site include access to Centrelink claim forms and information, including pamphlets and brochures. A range of employment self-help facilities, such as internet access and phone and fax services with a direct link to the Centrelink Call Centre are also available at no cost. Staff will work closely with individuals and families to offer integrated assistance and direct people to appropriate services. In the 2001/2002 Budget, the Government announced a number of Indigenous measures as part of the welfare reform package. One of those initiatives was the Remote Area Servicing strategy that includes the expansion of Centrelink services to remote communities by establishing 12 Remote Area Service Centres within the next three years. The Centre is located at Shop 6, Shopping Complex, Esplanade, Yarrabah and is opened 8.30am to 4.30pm, weekdays. Minister’s Media Contact: Damon Hunt 0419 691 944