The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents Services Australia workers, welcomes the announcement that a Labor Government will lift the staffing cap and protect local services in the agency that includes Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.
Services Australia workers provide essential support to Australians who rely on the social safety net to help them in times of need, including disaster relief through the pandemic, fire, and floods.
Australians rely on Services Australia to be ready and available to provide them with assistance when they need it.
Too often, accessing support is a battle and it shouldn’t be that way. Our members want to provide quick and easy access to comprehensive support. The work is complex and requires well trained and experienced staff.
Labor’s commitment to lift the staffing cap would allow for more permanent staff by converting casual and labour hire contracts to secure jobs.
Since 2013-14, the Coalition has slashed staffing in Services Australia by 12%, including cutting 2,719 or 9.4% of jobs in the recent budget.
On top of those job cuts, the Coalition has expanded insecure employment, through outsourcing, casualisation and short-term contracts. Over 30% of Services Australia workers now in some form of insecure work.
The Coalition’s cuts have meant less training and less security for workers, higher staff turnover, more errors and time spent fixing mistakes, and real delays for communities who desperately need support.
It is vital that people have a choice in the way they access Government services and for many Australians, local face to face services are vital.
A reliable local presence, particularly in regional communities, is an important step to rebuilding Services Australia’s capacity to deliver the services Australians deserve.
It is beyond time that the Coalition’s cuts are reversed and there is a serious investment in rebuilding the Services Australia to ensure communities have access to the services they need.
With more permanent staff, and a secure local presence, Services Australia will be better able to meet the community’s needs. That’s why we welcome and support the ALP announcement.