Centrelink is Failing Us Again

4 min read
Centrelink is Failing Us Again

Centrelink is Failing Us Again

I only have to call Centrelink once per year.  Just once – and it makes me sweat, swear and cry for literally two days.  That’s if I can get through at all!  Most of the time the number is engaged.  And when you do get through, you speak to about six different people in 10 different departments and usually STILL nothing gets done about the problem or enquiry you are trying to resolve!  It is enormously frustrating, and those that require Centrelink’s services on more than an annual basis – I don’t know how you do it without losing it.

Centrelink Fails Us Again | Stay at Home Mum

Now I read that they are outsourcing 800 jobs whilst MILLIONS OF CALLS go unanswered.

In fact, if you want exact numbers – read this:

  • Last financial year, 48 MILLION calls to Centrelink went unanswered

  • The year before last, 55 MILLION calls went unanswered

  • They say the average waiting time for Centrelink is 15 minutes and 58 seconds

  • Youth Allowance and Austudy calls wait on average 37 minutes on hold.

  • Centrelink received 270,000 complaints lasts the financial year

  • Customer satisfaction is at 46.5%

Do they make the system hard in the hope we will just ‘Give up?’


Why Are They Outsourcing?

I have nothing against outsourcing, and I know it is the way of the future.  However, I do worry about the security of our personal information (as Medicare and Centrelink are perhaps THE most personal information that there is).  Last Tuesday, Human Services Minister Michael Keenen cited a report by KPMG that outsourced staff is out-performing full-time public servants.  However, the Government refuses to release the findings on the KPMG Report.

He said ‘The reality is that customers really don’t care who is answering their call, as long as it is answered quickly by someone who is well-trained and capable of resolving their issue for them.”

Personally, I’d love to see this report.  Something MUST be done to help the people who depend on Centrelink to feed their children and put a roof over their heads.

Are the Government not in touch with the average Centrelink user? No – I really don’t think so.

The Biggest Problems with the Current Centrelink Setup:

  • The phone number should never be engaged, especially not for days on end. What if someone was homeless and was calling from a pay phone?

  • Wait times should be shorter.

  • The website is AWFUL and confusing and doesn’t answer the questions people are looking for. And why do you need the App for certain things and not others?

  • The ‘Benefits Calendar’ is never a reflection of the payments you actually receive.

  • Wait times at Centrelink offices are ridiculous, yet they don’t seem to be serving anyone…

  • Seeing Centrelink staff in person doesn’t guarantee this will solve the problem. Often they say to check the website. Then the website says to call Centrelink staff. The endless circle of ‘Getting Nowhere!’.

  • Processing times for payments are out of touch. I know one single Mum that had to wait six months for assistance!

  • The income ‘estimation’ process needs to be better thought out.

Possible Solutions:

  • Hire the unemployed and train them to answer phones to take some weight off the current system.
  • Improve the website to make it more ‘User-Friendly’ for normal folk to actually benefit from using it.
  • Make the benefits calendar a reflection of what people will realistically receive. Surely it can’t be that hard!
  • A ‘Callback’ system should be implemented to stop the wait on hold.

I call on you the public to discuss how to make Centrelink more accountable and relatable.

Join the Ask Stay at Home Mum Discussion to anonymously suggest what they should do!

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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