Labour hire puts Centrelink safety net at risk

The CPSU says the Turnbull Government’s decision to outsource 1,000 Centrelink jobs through labour hire arrangements poses yet another threat to the social safety net for all Australians. 

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has confirmed private labour hire firms will employ the staff, with their work focussed on the disastrous robo-debt scheme and welfare compliance.

It is the second recent announcement of DHS services being privatised, following last month’s announcement of a 250-staff call centre operated by multinational company Serco.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “The Turnbull Government’s decision to outsource these 1,000 Centrelink jobs to labour hire is new and scandalous. Dealing with social security debts is an incredibly sensitive job that should be done by well-trained public sector workers. This is just another example of the Government privatising our safety net.”

“Robo-debt has been an absolute disaster for both DHS staff and the community. The Turnbull Government is now trying to abdicate its responsibility for this debacle by outsourcing the mop-up to a private company.”

“No-one should be making a profit off robo-debt, especially not labour hire companies who pay really low wages and then skim a big chunk off the top. Labour hire has no place in public services – the Turnbull Government needs to lift its arbitrary cap on public sector employment so that the community can have the services it needs.”

“DHS staff have an important job that they take pride in and that the whole community relies on. These privatisation moves make these jobs precarious and unnecessarily stressful. Staff are saying that morale has reached rock bottom and this has real implications for staff and the community.”

“Malcolm Turnbull claimed this week that jobs and growth was an outcome not a slogan. But because of his cuts, the only outcomes we’ve seen are job opportunities disappearing from towns across Australia – and critical services like Medicare and Centrelink are starting to crack under the pressure.”