The decline in the level of access to Centrelink and Medicare services has reached crisis point and the Turnbull Government stands condemned.

Aged pensioners and other recipients are spending hours “on hold” as they attempt to secure assistance from both agencies.

Of course it’s not just the clients being affected, hard-working and skilled Centrelink staff are under enormous pressure as resources continue to be cut.

Our aged pensioners in particular deserve better and people claiming Medicare should not have to stand in the same queue as Centrelink payment recipients seeking assistance.  It has become a sad joke.

Showing 20 reactions

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  • Alita Nicholas
    commented 2017-06-14 14:27:20 +1000
    When I think of what is happening to unemployment services, I think of that scene from Back to the Future, where Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955 and witnesses the service station staff rush out to fill a guy’s gas tank, pump his tyres, wash his windscreen etc. Back in the time there were much fewer cars, this was standard practice. Now that cars are everywhere, it’s all self-service, and you usually only go in for the petrol. Unemployment is the same. When there were much fewer unemployed people, services were more personal, attentive and caring. Now that the unemployed demographic has exploded, services are more impersonal and barely cover the basics (i.e. income).
  • Melvin Munson
    commented 2016-12-27 00:59:57 +1100
    I couldn’t agree more I drove a truck for 24 years 2 major back operations later lumbar and thoracic.I have a herniated disk at c6 c7 with myelmolacia lose balance all the time can’t hang onto nothing can’t sit for more than 10 to 15 minutes gotta get up as to pain in the buttocks both shoulders arthritic 1 with a muscle tear had an eye stroke lost all vision in my left eye arthritic ankle surgery in 1997.ssdi denied me twice saying I can work light duty wtf is that I’ve worked my share of 100 hour weeks in my life they kept asking me if ive worked 5 of the last 10 years hell yes I’ve worked since I was 12 I’ve tried going back to work they said can no longer drive semi everytime ends up with emergency room trips for toradol and dilaudid shots hurts so bad you step you scream in pain and pull yourself along.then I see a guy I’ve known for 30 years he’s never had a job and he’s on it wtf ya you can say I’m pissed I’d like to opt out of the govt robbing piggy bank they call social security anybody agree with me?
  • Felipe Moraes
    commented 2016-07-16 06:43:04 +1000
    I very much like to stay well informed, this site is good. Check out the testimony of the star Adriane Galisteu on the Ageless from Jeunesse in a video channel Lucas Trentino –
  • Leonie Davey
    commented 2016-01-31 10:56:33 +1100
    What about the closure of Child Support Agency offices? Have you ever tried to explain to someone over the phone something you want them to explain to you because you don’t understand it in the first place? If I’m able to explain my problem then I wouldn’t need someone to explain it to me. It’s beyond a joke.
  • Jenny Williams
    commented 2016-01-28 21:12:13 +1100
    So Joel Fitzgibbon, do you have anything to say about how the ALP has sold out to the current government’s draconian changes to what is supposed to be our social security safety net for the most vulnerable people in our community? Without the ALP’s support, the current government would not be placing us in the positions we find ourselves facing now. I’m talking a raft of income support changes, including tightening up the eligibility for acceptance to the DSP (particularly for those with episodic illness or unusual medical conditions), the introduction of the new 80% welfare card, whereby income support payments will be quarantined leaving only 20% of a meagre payment available as cash? Cutting staff and inadequate/incomplete/non-existent training in these agencies as well as failures of IT systems which were designed to “replace” actual people to help us, how did that happen? Oh, that’s right! The ALP has become the pup to the dog of the coalition government…doing its bidding…at our expense. It’s not good enough – whatever happened to the idea of being an “opposition” as opposed to a rubber stamper?
  • Abaddon Quinn
    commented 2016-01-28 15:07:48 +1100
    Received an email from the ATO advising I need to update my info. I go to MyGov site, enter my details, and am told either username or password are incorrect. I recorded both the last time I did this, so I know for a fact they are correct. Nonetheless I submit a ‘forgot your password?’ reset request through the site… and nothing happens. Site advises to resubmit if the reset email doesn’t arrive straight away. I’ve resubmitted 3 times. Still no email. Imagine if I actually needed to do something important?
  • Scott Dunt
    commented 2016-01-28 12:37:08 +1100
    3 and half hours on hold to replace a stolen medicare card? Had my wallet stolen, and calling up any government owned place is a night mare 1 hour on hold to services NSW to get a new drivers license I though was bad but 3 and half hours takes the cake.
    Thankfully it was a day off work so I just put the phone on speaker and went about my day but still, disgusting wait times.
  • Miochael Rocks
    commented 2016-01-28 10:42:12 +1100
    The MyGov access is woeful, times out regularly while signing in. Early hours of the morning is OK, so I am suspecting the bandwidths and server capacities are inadequate for daytime loads.
    The transition to Centrelink often problematic.
    I have found an old cached link from pre-mygov days straight into Centrelink bypassing the text message and password crap.
    >>>>Trouble with this old link being active it tells me that if I were a hacker I have the starting point of a system entry<<<<
    I know all this because I have become ill and had heart surgery in October. In November my doctors suggested I am unfit for full time or physical work and in December I went for an “upstairs” interview – please understand, I want a job, I like money. They told me that Centrelink would refer me to a job providor who specialised in disabled employment for people such as I, they will contact me. Seven weeks now, nothing, nada, zip. Like silence from the grave.
    As many people have commented thankyou Labor for having ineffectual presence in Parliament and allowing the dehumanisation of us, Australians.
  • Matthew Barrett
    commented 2016-01-28 09:44:28 +1100
    iam unemployed but receive no benefits because my wife works we have no money after the bills are work mates and i became unemployed when the LNP allowed foreign workers to enter the country on illegal visa’s to replace us,for what ,they receive no tax from them,the only do it because they are receiving deposits into their offshore bank accounts.
  • Bronwyne Chapman
    commented 2016-01-28 09:22:14 +1100
    While it’s fine to complain about it now, your party voted for this. I guess the 60 million dollar question is….what are your party going to do about it now? Both sides of politics need to remember how many voters use government services. The major parties aren’t going to be major for much longer at this rate.
  • Trudy Trenowth
    commented 2016-01-28 08:55:33 +1100
    Centrelink, MyGov, are a crime against Australians, no less.
  • Ney Gee
    commented 2016-01-28 08:21:09 +1100
    After my nanna left my care .it took centrelink 7 weeks to restore my payment . My realestate was recieving fornightly payments instead of weekly during this 7week period. My rent went into $1400 arrears . And many times within these weeks id email the realestate to let them know id be backpaid and arrears will be paid. My realestate and landlord had me police evicted before the payments were reatored. I had to take the police issued notice to centrelink office with 5days to clear out . My payments was fixed asap and i called the realestate to pay my arrears . And they wouldnt accept my payments .. i was homeless with my 6children my husband lost his job because we had to move out ect. . I cannot wait to find employment so i dont have to depend on them .
  • Maurice McGahey
    commented 2016-01-28 06:09:50 +1100
    Yeah, OK Joel. Centrelink ISN’T a government service anymore, it’s an excuse making machine for increasing numbers of disenfranchised Australians. All it does is provide a place that you go to to be told that your government is NOT going to help you find employment if you are young and haven’t been educated past, “Would you like fries with that?” It is also the place where anyone who is over 50 goes to be told, “Oh you have enough money in the bank to service your mortgage!” We can’t help you until you’re living under a bridge. And you won’t be going on the unemployed statistics because successive Liberal AND Labor governments have found it more important to FIX THE FUCKING UNEMPLOYMENT BOOKS than fix the growing unemployment problem.

    Your party is the same sham that the Liberal-National Party is and I hope everybody bungs your right wing Liberal Lite Labor Party candidates just over the fascist Liberal and National Party candidates in their preferences. We DON’T just have two choices, and you and your “FUCK! There’s an election coming up. We better look like we’re doing something.” Opposition are about to find that out.

    Vote The Labour Coalition. And if you don’t have a TLC candidate … which could happen because both Labor and Liberal-National are fighting hard to stop the progressive TLC from getting registered … the vote for ANYONE but the Liberal-National-Labor Party. After all, the Independents, PUP and KAP are who has been functioning as an Opposition while most of right wing Labor has been missing in action this term.

    Appologies to Penny Wong who has been trying to provide an Opposition while Bill Shorten has been agreeing with everything Malcolm Turnbull want.
  • Frank Deane
    commented 2016-01-28 04:24:58 +1100
    I went into a Centrelink office for what I thought would be a very short visit telling them I’d be overseas in NZ for a 13 night cruise, and as an age pensioner I had to inform them if I left the country. I was told to get myself a mygov account, which – with a lot of assistance – I did.

    I then went to the website area where I could let them know, and it said I could not report this online, I’d have to visit a Centrelink office. I showed this to the lady who’d helped me set up the account, and she was very surprised.

    So all that time was wasted, and I had to then wait in queue to let them know. Had I gone straight to the main desk, it would have saved an hour and a half in the office.

    I have since wanted to send a letter about another matter, so tried to do it via mygov. I had to convert my MS Word file into a pdf file, and then upload it, but there really wasn’t a general letter-sending area online. I used the “Legal Notices” option, and not sure whether it had received attention or not. There was no acknowledgement online or even an email confirming its receipt.

    I think I’ll just spend a dollar and buy a stamp for routine correspondence like this in the future. In my experience the mygov system only slows me down – AND CENTRELINK STAFF.
  • russ kirwan
    commented 2016-01-27 23:01:35 +1100
    I have waited over 2 hours twice before speaking to a person, the average time for me seems to be about 80-100 minutes. Cutoff once after 110 minute.
    Visits to the office to save time, dont work, that ended up being about 50 minutes while some had cuppas and others chatted while 2 workers served those ahead of me. once seen my visit was over in less than 30 seconds.
    They twice allowed housing commission to access my money over 12 months after moving to a private rental, this happened again 12 months later while i was still in private housing and receiving rent assistance, each time took over a week for my money to be returned.
    When i applied for disability pension i had all the paper work they wanted, this was about 10 days after being released from hospital having had heart surgery and a defib fitted, ie i was covered in bandages still, 5 days later i received a letter telling me to join a job club as i had to look for work. that required 2 more strenuous visits, last one with a letter from my local gp as well, to get fixed instead of resting and recuperating.
    thats what i can recall right now.
  • Glenda Pyke
    commented 2016-01-27 22:55:56 +1100
    rtner had been working casually until recently prior to that e had also been on a disabilty pension then onto new start. He was laid off t work about 2 months ago. He has applied for disability again. BUT centrelink want to see his original birth certificate ! He is currently in hospital & we are unable to find this document . My actual question is WHY does he have to produce the original again when all his information has already been recorded ? We now live in a digital world , hard copies or documents of same should be unneccessary . My pension is not enough to survive on for 3 people.
  • Royden Fagan
    commented 2016-01-27 22:48:01 +1100
    I have to reset my password every time I
    Log in as well as receive phantom notifications via email that provides a link to nowhere. I get more assistance from ATO staff who are more than happy to help. It’s a waste of time for me but I know it’s a necessary evil.
  • Jenny Williams
    commented 2016-01-27 22:44:19 +1100
    So how did the current government get the changes through Parliament? Wasn’t it necessary that the ALP supported the bills…or am I imagining that? I’m disgusted by all sides of politics. We who rely on income support have been hung out to dry in the past few years and it’s only going to get worse. I think the end game is that we reduce the income support budget through artificial attrition (suicide, deaths waiting for assistance that never comes)…can’t even get a face-to-face appointment with a Centrelink Social Worker any more…and they can’t help over the phone. Those of us with mental illness and who are experiencing homelessness, who are trying to survive on Newstart allowance and with the grace of friends and family, are really in a difficult place. We just don’t matter and we don’t have the resilience or knowledge to navigate the various “support systems” that end up sending us in circles instead of actually delivering real help.
  • Dennis Mitchell
    commented 2016-01-27 19:34:31 +1100
    My experience is that the Staff are excellent and do a great job but are under staffed and stressed. The attempts to save monies by making it harder to get benefits like Disability is leaving a lot of people in limbo with little to no feedback as to why they didn’t qualify except to say “You didn’t reach 20 points”.
  • Jennie Harvie
    commented 2016-01-27 17:03:43 +1100
    I have always had excellent service from the staff I have contacted at Centrelink, but my experience is not common from what I hear from friends and family. Long waits on phone calls is usual, sometimes up to an hour. When one is a busy mother, part-time worker this is a stupid waste of time. I have also friends who work in Centrelink in the call centres. Their story is absolutely criminal. The management is bullying and authoritarian; will not put up with any discussion critical of policy; implements draconian conditions eg have specified numbers and length of time for toilet breaks; My deepest sadness about it all is the perverse use of social workers who are confined to working i call centres and almost banned from working within their local communities. This community development role which had been there when I worked as a social worker was pivotal in coordinating and developing cooperation between local and regional services and organisations. But the worst of all is the perverse policy of income cards. A national roll out of this will give the organisation all that more power over us all. It needs to be disbanded immediately. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.