Centrelink has heard our complaints – but won’t budge on the one thing that drives us mad 115



View Profile

As anyone who has ever had to access services from Centrelink knows, you may well have had to wait on the phone for a long time before you actually got to speak to someone, or have had problems trying to get to their self-service options.

If you have, and you’ve complained, your cries of frustration and anger have not fallen on deaf ears… but there might not be the fix you had hoped for.

Centrelink will continue to focus its self-service model, despite the fact most people can’t stand it, and even the Commonwealth Ombudsman agrees it’s not suitable for everyone.

Colin Neave, has released a follow-up report into complaints about Centrelink which falls under the control of the DHS (the Department of Human Services). It follows on from last year’s report, which was sparked by complaints from people dissatisfied with Centrelink’s service delivery arrangements.

The new report found there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“I conducted this 12-month review because my office has continued to receive complaints from people who experience problems when trying to access Centrelink services,” Mr Neave said.

The Ombudsman said he made 33 recommendations, and although Centrelink has agreed to address them all, it hasn’t agreed to implement them all fully.

“It’s clear the department has made efforts to implement the recommendations from that report,” said Mr Neave in a statement released today.

DHS has made considerable progress with those recommendations that support the improvement and expansion of self-service and online service options. However, that emphasis on self-service does not work for all customers and can, in itself, be the cause of customer complaints. This is most evident in relation to Centrelink’s online and telephone services.”

Mr Neave said he recognised that many of the problems people encountered with DHS’s services stemmed from its ageing computer system.

In the meantime, DHS needs to think about the people who use Centrelink, and look at how it can stop the inconvenience and frustration of the people who need to access its services.

Do you think the self-service model is Centrelink’s major problem? Would you prefer to see a move back to “real person” service?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Thanks Starts at 60’s for addressing this but you have to remember they have cut staff and this Government is not prepared to spend any money for more staff to handle things, yes the computer system is probably aging but what is their excuse for hours of waiting time on the phone if you try to ring? Only one answer lack of staff

    1 REPLY
  2. YES. the self service works for kids who have been bought up on computers, not for me! I ev en put in a paper tax return this year because I could not access my gov.

  3. Just been to Centrelink in Hobart. There was hardly anyone in there, because I think most people are encouraged to phone up. There was plenty of staff, some walking around with their hands in their pockets, so in my opinion, even though they have cut staff, they have gone too far with an Internet or phone service that doesn’t work well and left some of their staff with some time on their hands. The staff were all nice and helpful but half looked like they had nothing to do and there was heaps of parking. I still think if you can get in to your local office you are better off.

    4 REPLY
    • It probably quicker to do that Fran but some are housebound with disability and would find it difficult.. you are not all that much chop yourself at the moment , am glad you got out for a bit 🙂

    • I agree with you Libbi, I am lucky I had a friend to take me in and I had to attend for this one. I believe they need to fix their phone and Internet system, no matter what. I had already cancelled this appointment due to illness and had been warned about cancelling again.

    • Fran – they warned you about cancelling an appointment due to illness. How arrogant. I am speechless.

    • You can…at least “take into account”…as an AUSTRALIAN……you are of no importance to Centrelink…..be it your choice…to be on hold for an hour and three quarter…or “join” the line and wait for 4…while it costs you for Parking???…Your Choice…..Fran Spears….

  4. Things have only got worse since they merged Medicare with Centrelink.

    1 REPLY
    • Because of severe LNP funding cuts they have merged staff with staff. The Centrelink people have half a days training to learn Medicare and Medicare staff have 1/2 days training to learn Centrelink. That – is ridiculous considering Medicare have over 2,000 items to learn and their staff have been halved because “People can access Medicare for themselves” Yeah Right. They make 150 items available on line so if your item is one of the 1,850 NOT on the do it yourself system – you are up shit creek.

  5. When I ring my Internet service provider, Internode, I am able to leave my phone number and receive a call back in my turn. Now that is customer service. Why can’t Centrelink provide this as a solution to long phone waiting times?

    2 REPLY
    • When I ring Centrelink I have a voice activated service, I get told to leave my name & number and they will call me back within the hour, No way for me. Just ring and ask for it, only need usual ,mothers maiden name , etc.

    • Enough are very lucky, Janice if you have re dived a call back. There are many companies with this option. I have used the service quite a few times & have NEVER received a call back. I believe Centrelink would be one of these companies if they even offered the service.
      I have found it better to go into a Centrelink office but pick the time & day when they arn’t at their busiest time.

      1 REPLY
  6. Centrelink Glenelg = good service and u dont have to wait long its 40 to 60 min wait if ringing them so quicker to get in the car.

    4 REPLY
    • but they’ll still stuff you up causing you to pay back money THEY told you you were eligible for.Ask mehow i know.

    • I get your message now i thought u were referring to me, u mean they said YOU were entitled to something then u were told u had to pay it back i see. Hope that doesnt happen to me !!!!

  7. There is 800,00 unemployed on that system at the moment as well pensioners and every other kind of payment. With rising unemployment the Centerlink System or lack of system will only get worse

  8. yes they can do better an y one providing a service should always do better

    1 REPLY
    • What you have said reminds me of this line from the bible. ”
      Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves”, but still requiring the same daily output of bricks as before.”
      You expect an enormous reduction in staff to enable them to “do better”

  9. The staff themselves can only work within the guidelines they are provided by the government of the day. However it would help if everybody was on the same page. You can talk to several different people regarding the same issue and get various different answers and when the issue is finally resolved it can be a totally different response from any of them. Consistency is a big issue with all government department including Centrelink.

    1 REPLY
    • And this has been going on since my kids were getting youth allowance, to attend uni and they are now in their 30 s

  10. The government don’t care ….end of story….because we no longer bring in any money,and we are a cost to them…..but in fact with all the mixups and cross communication,it is actually wasting taxpayers money because of such inefficiency……

    1 REPLY
    • The government needs to employ a middle aged woman. Someone who understands the younger generation (her kids) and understands the older generation and their problems (her aging parents) but no. They employ someone straight out of uni with no life skills whatsover and absolutely no knowledge of how the other half lives. The other half that couldn’t afford to go to university or afford to buy or operate a smart phone.

  11. I have found that phoning is impossible; lovely staff at our local branch so save my questions and concerns till I go into town; usually attended to there in less than 10 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *