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News : Union Calls for Centrelink Jobs Boost
Canberra, Australia, May 26, 2015 -- The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has called for more staff for Centrelink, following an audit into the Agency’s call centre services.
As reported in PS News last week, the audit found that waiting times for Centrelink phone enquiries had blown out to more than 16 minutes a call and up to a third of enquiries went unanswered due to the delays.
National Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood said the report confirmed the union’s concerns.
"The message is simple, you've got to fund this service properly, put permanent jobs back into Centrelink so that people can actually get the service from government they need," Ms Flood said.
"You cut staff and services will suffer," she said.
"This is what years of so-called Efficiency Dividends that cut jobs looks like – longer wait times for clients and more stress for the staff who are on the receiving end of frustrated clients waiting longer."
She said the cuts started under the previous Government and had continued in recent years.
"Demand for Centrelink services continues to grow while the workforce shrinks," Ms Flood said.
"In five years, Human Services has cut almost 5,000 jobs in call centres and in-face service centres and yet in the same period staff are answering roughly three million extra calls a year.
"The maths just doesn’t add up.
"We know that, our members know that and the Audit Office has finally confirmed that.
"It’s unacceptable and it’s high time that the Government and Human Services fund Agencies like Centrelink properly to allow staff to do the job to the level the community expects."
The Australian National Audit Office report said that in order to reduce call waiting times down to five minutes would require a 33 per cent increase in DHS call centre staffing, or 1,000 extra staff .
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Centrelink
Centrelink is a government agency delivering a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community. Centrelink is a statutory authority responsible, through its Board, to the Minister for Family and Community Services. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has responsibility for Centrelink’’s day-to-day operations. Centrelink operates under the Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 which formally came into effect on 1 July 1997.
About Community and Public Sector Union:
The Community and Public Sector Union (more commonly known as the CPSU) is a national trade union in Australia.
Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2015