Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon delivered a Constituency Statement in Parliament today about funding cuts to Centrelink and Medicare which have had a detrimental impact on people in the Hunter electorate.
Mr Fitzgibbon’s electorate office has recorded an increase in constituents making contact to voice their concerns about a lack of service and difficulty in receiving basic, timely assistance.
“This is now in a state of crisis,” Mr Fitzgibbon said in Parliament.
“People become so frustrated by the inability to secure the advice, support and help they need at Centrelink. I feel for Centrelink staff, who are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances, but there are not enough of them. They are simply not sufficiently resourced to cater for the demand at the front office in Centrelink, nor indeed on the phones.
“These are not just the unemployed; these are elderly residents whose financial situations might have slightly changed, who need to make declarations to Centrelink and, more importantly, secure advice from Centrelink. They are families who have lost an elderly loved one and need to make arrangements and need advice. They are parents with children with severe disabilities.
“All these people are unable to receive help from Centrelink. This government needs to start listening to this problem. It needs to start doing something about it. Only money fixes it—that is the reality.
“You have to give Centrelink the resources it needs to assist people who need their advice and assistance.
“Medicare is no different. We are closing our Medicare offices all over the place. People on low fixed incomes are waiting long periods to receive recompense for money paid to a GP and for other services.”
A full transcript of Mr Fitzgibbon’s Constituency Statement made in Parliament today can be found HERE.