Centrelink staff plead for action on JobSeeker

Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare workers, and their union the CPSU, are today releasing an open letter explaining to JobSeeker recipients how the Government’s decisions are impacting their payments during the pandemic.

Our members know that 2020 has been incredibly difficult for the over one million Australians that have lost their jobs. Our members go to work every day to help the community, but the Government is making it harder than it needs to be for them and for jobseekers.

CPSU members are concerned about:

The Federal Government reducing the JobSeeker payment by $300 a fortnight by removing the COVID supplement. This change not only affects JobSeeker but also cuts back the other supporting payments of Youth Allowance and the Parenting Payment. Right now, massive reductions in payments, along with changes that make it harder to access them, are the last things the community need.

Their ability to help you – our permanent workforce has been cut significantly over the last ten years and this has led to long wait times for claims to be processed or calls to be answered.

Public services remaining in public hands – these services should not be privatised and outsourced to companies, some of whom barely even pay tax, where profit is prioritised over service, and whose workers are in low paid and insecure work. A highly skilled and appropriately staffed public service benefits our community and our economy.

CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said, “Our members go to work every day to help people, but the government is making is harder than it needs to be. Life is hard enough for jobseekers without reintroducing mutual obligations without real jobs to apply for or reducing payments with no end to the pandemic in sight.”

“The Services Australia workforce has seen devastating cuts and outsourcing over the last decade, and you don’t have to look far to see the impact; long call wait times, unanswered calls, and website crashes. Our community deserves a safety net that is adequately staffed and responsive, this Budget can deliver that.

“Centrelink is the community’s safety net, and as our country rebuilds, the people working at Centrelink want to make sure nobody is left behind. The people working at Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare want you to know they are doing their best to help people get back on their feet despite these Government changes.”

/Public Release. View in full here.