Services Australia is ignoring lockdown orders in dozens of workplaces across the nation and putting over 10,000 workers and local communities at risk.

Managers are ignoring lockdown and working from home orders in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Darwin and in the most recent Melbourne lockdown. Workers are being forced to break lockdown orders and attend the office to perform non-customer facing roles, work from the office when they have the capacity to work from home and being told to use their own leave when identified as a close contact.

The CPSU is notifying a dispute under national Workplace Health and Safety laws to force the Agency to protect the safety of its workers while continuing to provide services to the community in these dangerous circumstances and to force a national rollout of clear standards for lockdowns.

The approach of the agency, which includes Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support workers, has been inconsistent across the country and across business lines. This isn’t Australia’s first lockdown and there need to be clear and consistent national lockdown standards for localised outbreaks.

Services Australia has failed to act where:

  • Managers are requiring attendance at the workplace of workers who are already approved, set up and regularly working from home, despite lockdown orders.
  • Processing staff in Sydney and around the country, are being required to continue to attend the office despite being able to take their desktop and work from home.


“Services Australia needs to take the safety of their staff and the community seriously. This is not our first lockdown; it is indefensible for the agency not to have a clear contingency plan for local outbreaks. It is allowing local managers to wilfully and dangerously ignore lockdown orders.

“There are dozens of sites and around 10,000 Services Australia workers in lockdown areas right now, the flow on effect of getting this wrong could be devastating, not just for the workers but their communities.

“We have sites where workers are being told to not even bother asking to work from home, in the middle of a lockdown where the health advice is to work from home. Workers get that the work they do is essential, but when they can do that work from home they should be working from home. It’s not good enough, and Services Australia needs to explain why they think they are above the national and state health advice.