Centrelink failures have us wondering – where are the humans in Human Services? 216



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Just days after pointless security measures within the government MyGov website were revealed, Centrelink has made another major bungle. These latest outages, errors and technical difficulties have us wondering – where are the humans in Human Services?

The Department of Human Services stuffed up again this week, when thousands of Aussie families were told to repay $800 each in Centrelink installments. The only trouble is, none of these families owed Centrelink money. In fact, a computer glitch has now been blamed for sending over 73,000 of these bills in error.

That’s not all! Earlier this week, Starts At Sixty described how personal information collected through MyGov online (including health records, pension details, disability schemes and veteran affairs) would not be accessible to customers, if they lost phone numbers associated with their MyGov accounts.

Meanwhile just before Christmas, Centrelink had a major outage which left its website offline. The issue left people millions of Australians unable to report their earnings, review payments or access online services. It meant that countless families were caught short on cash, just before the holidays.

Indeed, the government’s push to force Human Services online has been widely criticised. As one Starts At Sixty reader said, “I just wish the government would stop all these cost cutting acts as it only creates more stress on everyone. It is now way past the joke… more staff are needed in essential services”.

Whilst another reader added, “successive Australian governments have seen fit to reduce the front line of the public service and replace it with self-service. As a former staff training officer in Centrelink I saw this occurring from 2000, and this was my predicted outcome. Unfortunately the bean counters are in charge and economic rationalism has come home to roost”.

The Department of Human Services now oversees Centrelink, Medicare, Aged Pensions, Disability Support, Newstart Allowances, Youth Allowances, Pharmaceutical Benefits and Rent Assistance, just to a name a few of its services. As a governmental monolith, wouldn’t having more humans actually improve Human Services?

As another Starts At Sixty reader surmised, Human Services “is probably the only Department that genuinely needs more staff not fewer”.

Do you believe Human Services could be improved by employing more staff? Do you miss the human interaction that government services used to provide?

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. and it will no difference word never said at centreling sorry our fault

    2 REPLY
    • No – You should say sorry to them for electing the wrong government. They have a bastard of a life not of their own doing – but of the blow-ins hired to cut staff. Tony “no cuts” Abbott, the liar of the century is still alive and well in this government.

  2. Outsourced to the Post Office called providers

    2 REPLY
    • That’s a stupid idea how would you like some parttime local post office worker who has not signed any secrecy act or had a police check being able to access all you private information when you go to buy your stamps? Because the would have that access

  3. I believe the workers have been sacked. Replaced with liberal apologist stat counting managers….. (anyone who has worked in the public service may agree with this).

    3 REPLY
    • It’s the bosses who have been replaced with government ladder climbers The remaining staff as usual take the brunt of the abuse while the perpetrators of these hideous failures are rewarded with bonuses for getting rid of staff. A member of parliament rises in cabinet and gets a pat on the back by his/her colleagues.

    • When my parents were alive and I looked after their affairs Centrelink was great. They had a special desk for seniors and carers. When my Dad died and I went in to tell them I was shocked. No staff. Terrible. I had to queue and tell a lady in front of everyone why I was there. So much for privacy. I dread the day I have to deal with Centrelink. Probably explains why I want to get a job.

  4. There are times when I would love to be able to talk to someone face to face. Ring up and hang on for 3/4 hr. to be hung up on. Yeah great Human services. Since when have computers become human.

  5. Centrelink could probably do well to hire some of us seniors to get the place running properly. 🙂

    3 REPLY
    • I wouldn’t mind earning my pension, set at a proper hourly rate, by going in and starting to reform the compost heap. Staff would be cut more, thinking humans of our age replacing them and the bastardised computer system reformed to work as it should. I reckon with the reforms we could catch the bludgers, the cons, the three identity claimers and still save enough money to pay those who really deserve social,security proper payments. Unfortunately, with all the reforms the systems that pay habitual dollies, extra wives of male refugees and the known terrorists and the ones that preach hatred for Australians would take years to fix and their payments would have to be suspended until it was sorted.

  6. Me too I worked for Centrelink when it was social security ! And front of line service was available. It worked fine then . I was also there when they introduced call centres. A disaster from day one. I have just spent hours on the phone and in the local office(100 Klm’s round trip) for an application I put in over 3 months ago for an aged pension!!!i was to get a phone call today…. Still waiting. What is the point of having local offices that can’t do anything , other than to say new claims are done elsewhere!!

    5 REPLY
    • What about their selection criteria..I’ve read it…pfft!…what a joke that is. I wonder how some of their now staff got through that?

    • Lee Leary it was done by outsourcing 😰when I worked there you had to know the social security act inside out. Americans where brought in to do customer device and recorded phone calls. And if you greeted customers and asked the right questions (ie would you like fries with that..joke)they passed the test irrelevant if they gave you the wrong info 😰

    • This government does not care about Aussies anymore.They hand everything to the refugees without asking any questions.I was a concretor for 36 years.I am now 63 years old and i have severe Osteo Arthritis in my knees,back,shoulders,hands and feet and am unable to work any longer,and they keep rejecting me for a DSP.In May of last year they allocated me 10 points,and then in November it was only 5 points.I have NOT had knee replacements as yet,and yet they seem to think i am getting better.The SYSTEM is FLAWED IN THE EXTREME.NOT HAPPY.

    • I also worked for Centrelink for ovet 20 years. The short answer is thst it is now a welfare organisation that doesn’t want to see people. Less customer traffic requires less staff. Self service was the death knell of any service. I always refused to promote it. Visited my old office recently the staff don’t have time to blink

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