It took 3 hours to talk to a real person in Centrelink

Federal Parliament was told how a Chifley constituency was forced to wait on a phone call to Centrelink for over three hours before receiving assistance.

Chifley MP Ed Husic said this case reflected broader concerns by the local community about the way Centrelink was dealing with resident inquiries.

“In one particular case, a constituent was trying to call Centrelink’s carers line on behalf of her 93-year-old grandmother,” Mr Husic said.

“I was told that she had to call twice and finally got through on the third attempt and waited for—wait for this!—over three hours on the phone,” Mr Husic told Parliament.

“She waited for three hours, four minutes and four seconds for someone to get on the line to help her manage this request on behalf of her 93-year-old grandmother. It was just a simple request.

“What is concerning is the fact that this lady was calling for an elderly relative who, without this person’s help, would have difficulty contacting Centrelink herself.”

Following the debate in Parliament, Mr Husic pressed the Government to act and improve Centrelink operations.

“It is unacceptable that I have a constituent waiting for three hours for the management of a simple request — especially if residents are calling Centrelink using pre-paid mobile services and can’t afford to wait for service.”

The Turnbull Government has neglected to provide Centrelink with the proper resources and IT support needed for the department’s frontline services that are currently battling a high volume of phone calls and long in-centre wait times.

by Kara Hinesley