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MEDIA RELEASE - NO PRANK: HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CENTRELINK, JUST CONTACT HANK
PAUL FLETCHER MP
Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts
Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
7 November 2023
NO PRANK: HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CENTRELINK, JUST CONTACT HANK
Services Australia’s Centrelink claims processing woes have been sensationally exposed again, with revelations a fast tracked ‘back door’ service exists for customers who contact the agency’s official spokesperson, Hank Jongen, directly.
During today’s Senate Estimates hearing, it was revealed that some customers have successfully had their payment claims expedited and processed faster by expressing their concerns through the media and popular social media platforms, including Reddit.
Shadow Minister for Government Services Paul Fletcher said this type of unfair special treatment points to a troubled agency culture lacking in transparency to avoid scrutiny.
“Centrelink claims processing times have massively blown out under Bill Shorten’s watch. Rather than take meaningful steps to fix this mess, Labor would prefer to provide customers who have voiced their concerns with an ad hoc channel to resolve their claims,” Mr Fletcher said.
“There were case studies highlighted today, in which customers who communicated their frustration with claims processing via social media or the media, would then be contacted by Services Australia. Coincidentally, their claims would be expedited and resolved quickly.
“This is a typical Labor approach to a serious issue – sweep the problem under the carpet to avoid negative headlines. Prioritising spin over substance is not good enough and it should concern Australians that they’re better off talking to the media than contacting Centrelink to receive a vital payment in time.
“Services Australia is in dire need of a root and branch review of its operations, so that effective reforms can be implemented.”
Bill Shorten’s failure has seen average wait times for payments and services skyrocket:
Media contact: William Sparling | 0416 628 276 | [email protected]