The Community and Public Sector Union has welcomed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s announcement of a substantial boost to staff numbers at the Department of Human Services offices in Devonport and Burnie, saying it will drastically improve local services while providing secure employment opportunities.
CPSU Tasmania regional secretary Madeline Northam said Centrelink services were stretched nationally, with 55 million calls going unanswered last year as a result of the loss of 5,000 DHS jobs under the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.
“Creating 50 secure new jobs in Devonport and Burnie won’t just be a great boost for the local economy, it will mean vastly improved services available to the community,” Ms Northam said.
“There are currently 30 empty desks in the Devonport and Burnie offices, so staff are overjoyed by this commitment to finally seeing those seats filled.
“While it is wonderful that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Labor candidate Justine Keay have made this pledge, our community shouldn’t need to wait for a change in government just to get the basic services we deserve.
“The CPSU is urging the Turnbull Government to match this commitment, providing bipartisan support the creation of vastly improved jobs and services to Tasmania’s North West Coast.”
Ms Northam said the public were fed up with constant cuts to essential government services.
“The public want to be able to contact a government agency, talk to a real person, and get the support they need,” she said.
“Instead, the Federal Government has been reducing jobs, making it harder to access services, and outsourcing and privatising sections of Centrelink to multinational corporations.
“Labor’s commitment to create these 50 new positions, employing local people that understand the needs of our community, is a wonderful first step to turn things around.”