Centrelink job cuts lead to growing anger and worse service - more permanent staff needed
9 August 2012, 2:43pm
Reduced Centrelink staff levels have caused increased waiting times, growing public anger and an increasing number of complaints about the state of Centrelink call centre services, a new CPSU report has found.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the increasing casualisation of
Centrelink staff, combined with the Federal Government’s 4 per cent Efficiency
Dividend, was reducing Centrelink’s capacity to serve Australians.
“Customers now commonly report being on hold for 60 to 90 minutes before
getting through to speak with staff,” Ms Flood said.
“These extreme waits are happening because staff levels are the same as they
were in July 2002 but the volume of calls has increased by 63 per cent, an extra
14.7 million a year. The average time to answer a call has risen from 1.8
minutes to 12 minutes during this period.
“It is not acceptable that thousands of vulnerable Australians who rely on
Centrelink payments to survive are being forced to use an overstretched and
“The report also clearly shows that the shift towards a temporary
contract-based workforce at Centrelink has reduced the level of experience
within the organisation.
“We are concerned that Centrelink is turning from a stable, highly-skilled
workforce of permanent employees into one with a small core of permanent
employees boosted by high numbers of insecure, temporary staff on short term
“We are calling on Human Services Minister Kim Carr to compel DHS to use the
$206 million dollars of supplementary funding in the 2012-13 Federal Budget to
secure 600 permanent call centre staff.”
“There is an urgent need to lift permanent staffing levels in Centrelink call
centres to address its staffing crisis.”
“We also want a review of customer service standards at Centrelink to find
long-term solutions to workload and service delivery issues.”
To arrange comment with CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood please contact
CPSU Communications Director Dermot Browne on 0408 265 081