Why you might want to avoid Centrelink next week

No doubt you’ve probably sat in a queue or on hold to Centrelink at some point when you’ve been dealing
Centrelink services will be disrupted next week as staff strike over the government's debt recovery program.

No doubt you’ve probably sat in a queue or on hold to Centrelink at some point when you’ve been dealing with them.

In fact, it’s one of the biggest complaints people make about Centrelink.

And next week, that’s about to get a whole lot worse.

According to reports in the ABC, Centrelink staff will strike next week over the Government’s debt recovery program.

The industrial action will begin on Monday and continue for two weeks, with strikes on February 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24.

In addition to strikes, it’s being reported that Centrelink staff are also planning to write to welfare recipients about their concerns over the debt recovery program.

So, how will the strike action affect you?

Well, according to a statement from the Department of Human Services, published by the ABC, the strikes will cause delays for phone and face-to-face services.

“We are asking customers to use the self-services options available through MyGov and the Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support mobile apps,” department spokesman Hank Jongen

“Of course, anyone who needs to speak to us can phone or visit, they just need to know that this may take longer due to the industrial action.”

The good news is your payments won’t be affected by the strikes.

The industrial action comes off the back of concern over the treatment of Centrelink staff, who have copped plenty of abuse and frustration over the government’s debt recovery program in recent months.

What do you think? Do you support the Centrelink staff’s strikes?



  1. Rob.  

    No I do not support a strike in any form. Why should people who have ripped off the system get away with it while the rest of us do the right thing? They should pay back with interest.

    • eletheromaniac  

      This is because it is not really people who ripped off the system. They are people who have been working – information was sourced from the ATO (Aus Theft Office). They may have had some legit payments when unemployed yet the automated system has divided all their pay over the year rather than look at the fortnights claimed. It is fake debt. Payments are demanded before a review can happen with peoples credit ratings destroyed.

      That said I support the abolition of Centrelink – but also the abolition of the ATO and the abolition of the Aus government too!

      • Guy Flavell  

        What kind of a ‘brain’ thinks like this ? Mate, you’re a COMPLETE moron !!!

  2. Maureen  

    I am annoyed as the advertised Medicare offices located with Centrelink no longer allow you to claim Medicare on site.
    I wanted to make a small Medicare claim. I was not allowed to claim the item numbers online.
    I visited the local office and was told to come back as all the computers were being used by Centrelink customers. Fine, I had lunch and went back an hour later . A lady helped me apply for the Iphone app.
    It took ages and we got a to a critical step where I needed to use my Apple ID. I couldn’t remember this as I hardly ever use it, and it’s written down at home.
    So I had to go home and start the whole process over again. At least I now have the ‘mygov’ number to log in. It had taken me nearly two hours to do all this by the time I went there, came back and sat down at the computer.
    I am not dumb, in fact I am a medical practitioner and use computers all day. I am annoyed as when I asked ‘what if I mailed it in?”, I was told it would take 8 weeks to process.
    This is unfair to elderly patients and those like my mum who do not have Iphones or computers. I think their customer service is awful.The lady who helped me was very kind, and I realise they can only do what the system allows, but everyone who pay taxes pays for Medicare and we have to navigate a user unfriendly product when we need to make a claim.

  3. Rob, that’s no way to talk about our political leaders, they’re doing a difficult job. They deserve their perks, I know because they say so. But this article isn’t about them, it’s about the TFUM that is the government debt recovery system that sends debt collectors after people for money they don’t actually owe. Some debts going back decades with the burden of proof laid on the usually ex-centerlink client, often for thousands of dollars. Having been on the dole or a pension once does not make you someone who ripped off the system by default, in spite of what the government may tell you.
    Maureen, I know where your coming from. I’ve just gone through something similar. The irony of not being able to do something online, waiting nearly an hour for a Medicare appointment. Then shown to a computer to do it… online. Then she just walked away and left me to it. What was the point, why did I have to be at centerlink to click on a button, then left unsupervised? Then asked by the website for paperwork that was in a drawer at home. I think I’ll go and quietly bang my head on a wall for a while.

  4. Marg  

    I recently applied for aged pension.everything you apply for has to be done online.
    I was shown to a computer to apply , the system went down 4 times before I was advised to go home and apply. Feel so sorry for the staff they do their best.
    Took 6 weeks for the pension to be approved after I gave my detailed twice I might add.
    Now I have no idea what my benefit is because it changes every fortnight.
    Centrelink is the most unorganised department I have ever had to deal with they would not get away with this incompetence in a private company.
    Don’t blame the staff they do the best they can with the worst systems .
    Get rid of who’s running this fiasco , get someone who can sort this out and make it work.

  5. Lorraine  

    Have just held the line for more than one and half hours, spoke to one operator after 3/4 hour, told was being transferred, held for another 30 minutes then spoke to another person who took details of my call, said would record this and get back to me in a few minutes. Have just hung up as this is eating my valuable Time from my plan, after another nearly 30 minutes. Can anyone please explain why the huge delay in dealing with customers at this department. Not the first time it has happened and am sure it won’t be the last, but will endeavour to avoid next week.

  6. Jenna  

    The delays you experience when trying to ring any one of Centrelink’s services, are absolutely shameful. It can take nearly an hour just to get a line that is not constantly engaged – ie, to get it to ring in the first place. Then anything up to or past two (2) hours waiting just to speak to any human being. Hank, the Centrelink HR/PR man is either lying, or misinformed, when he gets on the radio and says customers ‘might have to wait 20 minutes’. That is totally untrue. Then if the human you reach isn’t the right human, you can be transferred and easily wait an another hour. And a Centrelink staffer told me, the staff have this problem internally as well, when trying to ring their colleagues – either to speak to the colleague, or to transfer a customer call. This is reaching into the realms of the ludicrous ! Then I experienced it myself. My Centrelink human, waited for 40 minutes to transfer me to the correct area, so she had to sit there, and bide her time, like I did. I have never heard of anything so ridiculous and non-productive in my life. It’s no wonder this “department” is a disaster. And whoever thought it was a good idea to add Medicare into the mix, and thereby tar Medicare with all of the Centrelink delays and problems, well that’s just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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