Greens estimates push forces Labor government to hire 3000 new Centrelink staff


After the Greens pushed the Labor government in estimates – revealing dismal Centrelink call wait times, congestion messages and claims processing – Centrelink will now gain 3000 new staff and a $228 million funding boost.

Senator Janet Rice will continue questioning Services Australia on Tuesday 7th November to investigate their appalling performance and advocate for a stronger, well-funded Centrelink.

Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for social services, said: 

“The state of Services Australia's Centrelink is a disaster. The Greens called out the severe lack of staffing resources being allocated by the Labor government, and now they've been forced to address the issue."

"These failures revealed in estimates aren’t a mere inconvenience for people on Centrelink; they are causing great suffering. When people can’t get help on the phone and aren’t having their claims processed on time, it means they can’t pay their bills or rent or afford to eat."

"People on Centrelink are barely scraping by as it is, on payments below the poverty line. They don’t have savings to deal with not receiving their income on time."

"Centrelink's performance has worsened under Labor – it needed more funding and more staff, and that's exactly what Greens pressure has achieved. This is a win for vulnerable Australians looking for support."

“It’s a welcome announcement but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the investment that is actually required to fix our broken, punitive social safety net.”

“We still need to raise the rate of income support to at least $88 a day, abolish punitive and counterproductive mutual obligations, remove unfair restrictions on who can access payments and put an end to debt recovery.”

"This funding announcement highlights that poverty is a political choice, one that Labor makes time and time again unless pushed to do differently."