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News : Department of Human Services Reassures Wendouree Workers
Sept 18, 2014 -- The Department of Human Services has reassured call centre workers at Wendouree that despite union and Labor claims their jobs were in danger.
DHS will bring in 200 Telstra workers into call centres to take calls and train staff.
Ballarat MP Catherine King asked the federal government to clarify the impact of the "arrangement" with Telstra on Thursday.
DHS general manager Hank Jongen said the 200 Telstra jobs would only be at centres in Queanbean in New South Wales and Sunbury in Western Australia, for up to 12 months.
"These staff would be in addition to the department's existing workforce. No jobs would be lost as a result of this arrangement and no work or customer data would be sent offshore," said Mr Jongen.
The Community and Public Sector union had warned of job losses in the 28 DHS 'smart centres' following the Telstra arrangement, which was announced internally on Wednesday.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said staff were "shocked and dismayed" by the news.
"They do a fantastic job for millions of Australians every day and now they face seeing their work getting outsourced," she said.
Ms King also raised privacy concerns over sensitive details being handed to a private company like Telstra.
"The government has failed to show why it thinks this is a good idea, and it has certainly failed to show how it is planning to to protect the privacy of Centrelink and Medicare customers and the very sensitive data that the Department of Human Services staff at these call centres are dealing with," said Ms King.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, September 19, 2014