Big Centrelink changes will affect millions of Australians

Coalition’s cost-cutting move could stitch up older Aussies the most.

centrelink office

Huge Centrelink changes have many older Australians worried about where they can turn when the department’s unreliable phone lines and confusing online services don’t work.

As Centrelink expands its reach online, more offices around the country are closing their doors, in a worrying new trend that will affect millions of Australians.

“We have a responsibility to the taxpayer. Leasing offices is expensive,’ said Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen.

Branches at Newcastle and Newport in New South Wales, and Mornington in Victoria, will close their doors, reports the Daily Mail.

Around 35,000 will be affected by the Mornington closure alone, says Mornington mayor Sam Hearn, who is urging the Coalition to reconsider its decision to close the office.

“Prime Minister, we call on the federal government to make a commitment to ensure the Mornington Centrelink service remains open,” he implored Scott Morrison.

Shadow government services minister Bill Shorten has also hit out at the Coalition, saying its justification for closing offices is not good enough.

“You don’t just want to be shunted off to an automated phone queue. You don’t just want to go to another website. You need to be able to talk to real people,” he said.

Being able to talk to “real people” is seeming more unlikely, with some offices being replaced by an ‘agency’ or kiosk manned by a single staff member “providing a more limited range of services”, said Mr Jongen.

Currently, more than 66,000 people walk into Centrelink offices across the country each day. However, more than half a million logins are made on the MyGov app, which is Centrelink’s justification to “maximise the benefits of digital capabilities while reducing the costs of administering payments”.

“Foot traffic has reduced by up to 46 per cent over the past five years,” said Mr Jongen.

“This is not about reducing our services overall. This is about consolidating into more appropriate locations.”

While Mr Shorten slammed the government for Centrelink office closures, he would not say whether Labor would re-open sites if it won government, preferring instead to lambast the Coalition for prioritising savings over servicing the people.

“This government’s more interested in bandaiding a dodgy budget surplus and it’s going to do it by shafting everyday Centrelink users,” Mr Shorten said.

However, the government insists the closures are not just about saving money but because more people are accessing services online.

It also would not rule out closing more outlets as more leases came up for renewal.

What do you think of the Centrelink office closures?

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COMMENTS

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Chris B T
24th Feb 2020
9:34am
Hot on the Heals of "No Duty Of Care".
This Lot Needs to Measure Up to the Task Quickly or Go.
Especially the Mouth Peace HJ.
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
11:21am
Yes. Although, I think you meant Mouth Piece! (Maybe the auto spell-checker is protecting HJ). The Govt can save $7Mil+ per years by sacking this incompetent fool whose performance is far from where it should be.

With phones not answering in a reasonable time, and the online systems failing / not working at all when you try to upload documents, the face-to-face services are essential, keeping Incompetent HJ employed is NOT. Also, for older people who don't want Apps or online systems, there is no other choice!

I understand the online systems don't work with Apple Macs which are even a few years old and this was an issue reported in 2014 or so as MyGov is the issue (original Centrelink system did work). As per the comment from Janus below, obviously they still haven't fixed it!

Ideally, at least for Age Pension, they can make it Universal Age Pension with NO means test, paid by the ATO after one initial application and scrap the Centrelink role, then oldies do not have to be bothered by Centrelink any more. Some idiots just don't seem to get this, and keep opposing it.
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:29pm
Peace to the Mouth Piece.
Joy Anne
24th Feb 2020
1:04pm
Totally agree. Use to be able to send messages to Centrelink can't do that anymore as they keep changing the system. Too confusing for older people. Tried phoning kept getting cut off. Bloody disgusting. NO DUTY OF CARE.
Chris B T
24th Feb 2020
1:12pm
You knew what I was saying, correct spelling or not.
I should used more unkind words.
I'm past the Classroom corrections.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
10:33am
So...what does one do if a person isn't computer literate, doesn't own a mobile phone with the mygov app, like many elderly people, e.g, over the age of 80 especially of foreign background, don't understand or speak much English and and one has to physically go into an office, needing a translator...or if the Mygov app, or Centrelink site is down with outage which can last a while...getting through to Centrelink on the phone is impossible. What is the Government's Plan B???
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:31pm
Plan B? To cut everyone off who hasn't 'complied' and force them to re-apply.... clears the deck - the principle being that if they don't re-apply correctly and fully - they are not entitled, and thus a saving has been made to the budget.
ray @ Bondi
24th Feb 2020
2:38pm
they do not care in the least, they are very comfortable thank you.
Janus
24th Feb 2020
10:44am
Typical of this Liberal Government, which has a philosophy of cutting all services so that they can fool the voters by reducing taxes. You only get what you pay for - call me a socialist, but some folk need assistance, and they will get none with this lot.

Having finshed my rant, how do we manage when the web page won't allow the necessary upload, or doesn't ask the right questions? Even now, we have to drive 40km, pay for a carpark, then wait 2 hours to be told that they did not really need to see us, but told us to come in anyway. Laura52 asks about the Govt Plan B - they have no plans, and no plans to make a plan. (actually they do have a plan for us oldies, but it is called "hurry up and die".
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
10:50am
That is right Janus...regarding the website issue. I have had issues with reporting my income due to the slowness of the page and submitting my income. I had to refer to the useless MyGov app which only recorded weekly income not fortnightly income and I get paid every 2 weeks, so working it out weekly would lead still lead to a different figure and not correspond to what the ATO would get. So, I had to do a pretend gross figure, saved it and went back to the desktop online Centrelink page and changed it to the correct amount there, which eventually worked...this has happened to me in the last 3 weeks.
Virginia
24th Feb 2020
1:22pm
Its the heads of departments who are the fault ... No efficiency ....jobs for totally incompetent time wasters.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
10:51am
The other issue is...many people have complex problems that cannot be sorted out online or via the app? Does the Government's Plan B involve utilising overseas call centres, like how the Telcos do? I certainly hope not!!!!
Horace Cope
24th Feb 2020
10:56am
A retrograde step. This all began when a government (I don't remember which one) listened to the pen-pushers and suddenly decided that every department had to show a profit. The truth about government departments is that there are winners and losers and departments that control services such as Centrelink will always be losing money, it's the nature of the beast. Trying to justify a reduction in the loss may produce a bonus or a pay increase for those in charge but the loss of services to the public cannot be justified.

In the past we have seen Centrelink office staffing reduced by up to 85% as a cost saving measure and the addition of Medicare to those offices didn't carry with it an increase in qualified staff. As has been pointed out, older Australians may not be familiar with computers, some may need interpreters and some may be totally reliant on public transport. More staff, more outlets will give service to those who need it and are certainly entitled to it.
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:34pm
Yes - government is not a business and nor should it be - it is a service provider and must do the tasks it is supposed to do. Are troops in combat expected to return a surplus from their activity?

Many current Centrelink positions are part-time casuals - their continuity of knowledge and interpretative skills required for the job can be very poor.
debs
24th Feb 2020
10:57am
It usually takes over an hour to get someone on the phone and because of the inadequate training of call centre people it is a waste of time when you DO get to speak to an actual person.
Going to a real place may be a pain, but you can be stubborn and not leave until you have a satisfactory answer. Don't be fobbed off and ask to see manager if all else fails. But be polite and cheerful. Getting angry has the opposite effect
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:35pm
Make an appointment and organise a shopping trip as well. It can be very hard for some older/disabled people to even do that.
yeahbut
24th Feb 2020
10:59am
The people who consistently voted for this mob of crooks. Next election they'll offer pensioners 500 bucks and people will vote for them AGAIN
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
11:05am
There Is no doubt they will win the next election too.
yeahbut
24th Feb 2020
12:31pm
The couldn't win on merit that's for sure
Loza
24th Feb 2020
3:17pm
And at least they will have $500 to give you and not on the never never plan either
Karen
24th Feb 2020
11:30pm
Budgets are not cash in the bank - they are forward guesstimates of what may occur - and may not... thus equally the "$500" does not exist other than in guesstimate as well.
Hoohoo
26th Feb 2020
10:59pm
Totally agree yeahbut and Karen. People who are either stupid, desperate or greedy keep on voting for these conmen, believing they'll lose something (like Frydenberg's lie about Death Duties), or they're just so poor they are desperate for an empty promise to be real or greedy (because they think they'll lose their franking credits, even when they don't own shares!). For some voters, it's a combination.

Stop being sucked in people! Show some brains!
GBH
24th Feb 2020
11:00am
When checking our possible eligibility for the age pension a year ago, my wife and myself decided to fill out our application in person at a nearby Centrelink Office. After spending some time with a not too interested staff member we were told "I'll put this application through, but it would have been much quicker to lodge it 'on line' "
Progress is progress, but I would suggest that Council Library Staff be allocated some initial funding to assist those Elder Citizens that need to complete future on line applications. A bit of initial set up costs and organisation, but a boost to all Libraries across the Country and a huge reduction in Centrelink wages. No knowledge of Centrelink would be required, just completion of any on line Forms for Centrelink evaluation.
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:36pm
Some community centres provide similar assistance - including finding your way through the funny system for reclaiming medical travel costs (a separate issue).
Loza
24th Feb 2020
3:22pm
When checking on eligibility for a carers pension so I could care full time for my younger brother, who had Down’s syndrome, and Alzheimer’s I was told she could not tell me I would have to apply, I was working full time at the time, because my brother could get better.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
4:20pm
Oh my, Loza, my heart sank after I read this...as i am a carer too and feel for you. How disgraceful, and such ignorance from that person. You willing to give up your work and life for your brother and this is the answer you got. I am beyond speechless.
Karen
24th Feb 2020
11:32pm
Loza - apply for Carer's Allowance....different...a lot less @$132/fortnight but it pays for your coffee, and maybe some petrol to run your brother to doctors and such.
Laura52
26th Feb 2020
8:06am
Karen and Loza...I didn't think of mentioning that to Loza, Karen...thanks for that... but even that is so hard to get. I was lucky to get carers payment and allowance a few years ago for my mother but carers allowance for my 86 year old father with heart failure, a pacemaker, who is immobile, needs help with toileting, washing...was totally denied, even with a doctor's form! I am lucky to work 2 days a week, which keeps me sane and helps me live week to week... and my brother is at home to help on the days I work...I just wonder how other people cope without help????
Oldchick
24th Feb 2020
11:02am
I’ve had a few occasions late last year where I needed to call Centrelink. One time I was on hold for over 3 hours, just put the phone on speaker and went about my day, but then along came 5.30 p.m. and still no answer. Another time it was over two hours. I’ve lost count of the number of times the phone call has dropped out after waiting an inordinate time. At the very least if they plan to cut physical offices they need to have a very good phone/internet back up. They don’t! In fact they don’t have a decent plan for anything, except lining their own pockets. That one - nailed it!
yeahbut
24th Feb 2020
11:04am
What you describe is exactly their plan
Mez
24th Feb 2020
11:15am
EXACTLY! It's plainly obvious that STAFFING NEEDS TO BE INCREASED WITH PHONE ANSWERING AS WELL AS WELL QUALIFIED STAFF WHO ALL HAVE A CONSISTENT AND SIMILAR COMPREHENSION OF CENTRELINK'S RULES AND REGULATIONS!
App is very useful and time consuming but telephoning is occasionally needed for clarification and advice.
Now with the closure of centres, there should be extra staff to answer phone calls!
Mez
24th Feb 2020
11:18am
Attending the centres ARE TIME CONSUMING!
= CORRECTION to above comment!
Farside
24th Feb 2020
11:24am
How much effort would it take for Centrelink to have a callback system so people do not have to stay on the phone until they reach the top of the queue?
Tood
24th Feb 2020
11:32am
Great idea Farside, the only problem is they don't want to call you back and they don't want you to call them in the first place, they just want you to bugger off.
Pass the Ductape
26th Feb 2020
7:59am
That's the truth Tood. I' gave up trying to get some sense from Centrelink years ago. I figure I'd be better off in jail!
Peter H
24th Feb 2020
11:05am
Centrelink offices tyoically have computer access for those who do not own a computer.
Also, ID documents needed to be presented to staff before I received benefits.
Will there be a satisfactory alterative to this procedure?
My Gov is good but it does have shortcomings at times.
There looks to be a case for downsizing office area but closing offices will disadvantage people further when they are already facing difficulty in their lives.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
11:11am
I agree Peter...you have to go to an office physically to provide ID documents..need to be sighted by a centrelink officer...they cannot be certified...Perhaps they will change the rule to this...get it certified and upload it..I have had to go into centrelink 3 times...since centrelink lost my parents and my ID documents..parents being pensioner for20 years and me being their carer for 5 years. How can the ID documents just get lost on the system all of a sudden. The online system is not foolproof that is for sure.
Horace Cope
24th Feb 2020
11:19am
What's the point of having computer access for those who do not know how to work a computer? As regards documentation, a certification by an authorised citizen is good enough for most commercial enterprises, why is government any different? To replace a document is both time consuming and costly and I've never heard of any government department apologising and offering to replace it at their cost.
Farside
24th Feb 2020
11:29am
Auspost already provide a range of document and ID services. It would not be a huge reach for them to do these services for Centrelink as they do for passport applications.
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
11:31am
The problems with uploading documents from Apple Macs started with MyGov version of Centrelink, and have been there for over 5 years and is still not fixed! The previous Centrelink system did work.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
11:34am
On point, Horace Cope and Farside and in fact there is a list of people who can certify id documents...doctors, pharmacists, police officers etc...which makes it easier for elderly people to get their documents certified. I do it all of the time at work!
clancambo
24th Feb 2020
11:08am
This bloody Hank Jongen needs a clip behind the ear. What a disgrace for a human! No bloody compassion at all. Would love to meet the fool face to face!
yeahbut
24th Feb 2020
11:21am
If he wan't a "yes" man he'd have been gone long ago
Farside
24th Feb 2020
11:31am
and if you did meet him then what would you do ... pretty sure it would be nothing.
Brissiegirl
24th Feb 2020
11:15am
They can save millions$$$ by ridding the country of all this nonsense, do as does NZ: pay every person (partnered and single) of pension age a standard base pension, shut their big sprawling bureaucracy doors aside from one small Canberra-based unit that assesses pension and disability applicants' ID such as birth certificate. End of squillion dollar story.
Tanker
24th Feb 2020
11:39am
Centrelink handle much more than age pensions.
Tanker
24th Feb 2020
11:39am
Centrelink handle much more than age pensions.
Mariner
24th Feb 2020
12:11pm
Agree with Brissiegirl. Universal pensions for age pensioners, taxation on all income and dividends, investments etc. The old CES could deal with job seekers - a load of work would disappear for C/L like assessing income and asset testing. ATO would take over that job.
tisme
24th Feb 2020
11:20am
god forbid the govt should spend money on anyone but themselves, that bunch of slave trading politicians are at it again
Gilbert
24th Feb 2020
11:26am
No problem I do it all on line, waiting to get them to answer the phone is hard work.
Tood
24th Feb 2020
11:35am
Total disgrace, Centrelink needs to exist for a number of reason and that being the case it should provide optimum service no matter what it costs this money wasting government.
inextratime
24th Feb 2020
11:50am
Just pay everyone over 65 the same pension regardless of assets etc. That would get rid of 50% of the need for centrelink as they bumble their way through a maze of rules to sort out who gets what. it would save millions but what would the govt do with all those people made redundant and there 'lies' the problem.
GrayComputing
24th Feb 2020
11:53am
NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
What our founding fathers said in parliament in 1908:
Quote:_____

We wish to honour the sentiments of the legislators who introduced the Age Pension in Parliament in 1908. When it became law, it was commended with the following words: “… it removes the idea of old-age pensions from any suggestion of a charitable allowance. An old man, who has done his duty as a citizen for 25 years (is) as much entitled to a pension as a commander-in-chief or a chief justice.”
End Quote: _____

The pension was a reward for service. It should still be considered in this light. It is not a handout.

Therefore, a pension is not welfare.

But modern politicians have stuffed it up completely

It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

Even the UK and poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension, so it is cheaper and user friendly.

Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be hassled by their crazed robo-debt scam and then waste even more time in the 3 million people waiting queues and more lost calls?

We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

Ask your MP do they really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?


DEMAND: NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!

Please help yourself and others today and every day, pass this demand on to all government, opposition and independent MPs and senators who could help us to get a fair deal on pensions
Mariner
24th Feb 2020
12:17pm
GrayComputing - one day you may be right. The only way to go to give people an incentive to work to an older age. The present system encourages sloth, people will stop work at 60, spend their dough and get on the old age pension at 67. Can you blame them? Just let's hope a Govt will hear your message but the largest political parties will never act on that.
johninmelb
24th Feb 2020
11:53am
And we're off again - for the second time in as many weeks, the same old ranting about Centrelink.

If you are not happy with the system then change it. And writing daily diatribes to YLC is not going to cut it. Morrison and Albo don't read this stuff, and if they did, they'd just laugh and get on with it knowing you can't do a damn thing about it because you don't care enough to get off your backsides and make something happen.

Always remember - If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

You might do well to study 23 year old Joshua Wong in Hong Kong, that guy has done more in his few short years on earth than any of you will have ever done in a lifetime. He doesn't sit on his backside hoping that one day Hong Kong will be independent. He walks the talk. The same can be said for 17 year old Greta Thunberg. She doesn't sit at her computer writing rants to YLC either.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
11:55am
What happens if they don't listen doing it the Joshua Wong or Greta Thunberg way???
Mariner
24th Feb 2020
12:19pm
Greta Sunburn is just a wound up doll manipulated by vested interests.
yeahbut
24th Feb 2020
12:32pm
Well you've just shown how low your IQ is
inextratime
24th Feb 2020
1:49pm
So what have Joshua and Greta achieved may I ask ? And don't tell me they've changed the climate or extended HK's tenure as a demographic state. Grandstanding may make you feel a bit happier but it doesn't wash with me. Virtual signalling is about as useless as ploughing a field with a razor blade. However at least everyone on here can read and have a general consensus about the feelings of older people towards the subject above. I would be very surprised if the govt admin of each political party doesn't scan sites like this, its part of the DNA of running government. And the only thing we can do is to write to our local MP or vote against the standing government, perhaps persuaded by forums such as this. And we could always be a Greta or a Joshua and make the front page of the local rag.
diamond
26th Feb 2020
12:14am
" She doesn't sit at her computer writing rants to YLC either."
Unlike you.
Karen
24th Feb 2020
12:28pm
Yes - good Old Hank tells us that services will not be affected - how about those little old ladies who wouldn't touch a computer with their soup spoon? It may appear to be 'efficient' to move many services to online - I handle most things that way these days anyway - but when it adversely affects many people it is failing in its designed job and is thus not more efficient.

If a coal crusher became more automated but crushed less coal as a result, would it be 'efficient'?

Besides,cost saving are illusions, since maintenance, security and upgrades are constantly required, and these are very expensive items.
Mac
24th Feb 2020
1:15pm
I know a lot of little old ladies who wouldn't touch a computer with their soup spoon. A lot of little old ladies and old men are unable to afford internet access, buy a computer and a modem and learn to use it due to their disabilities and ill health.

Using a computer can lead to musculoskeletal deterioration in those who have osteo arthritis and spinal problems - quite a common problem in the elderly and disabled. I am greatly affected by these conditions and I know for a fact that using a computer subjects my body to extra pain unresolved by decades of chiropractic, physiotherapist, osteopathic treatment, exercise and scripts for stronger painkillers - all costing a great deal of money.

CITATION:
Conclusion:
Musculoskeletal symptoms are quite common, headache and back pain being most common symptoms. These symptoms are associated with prolonged use of computer and internet and often left unreported and unrelated.
Keywords: Back pain, computer, cross sectional, internet, wrist
J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Mar-Apr; 7(2): 337–339.
Musculoskeletal problems in frequent computer and internet users
Tasneem Borhany,1 Erum Shahid,2 Wasim Ahmed Siddique,1 and Hussain Ali3

Online seems to be the answer for everything these days but there may come a day when the internet crashes and then where will we be?

I feel extremely sorry for the elderly and disabled who will have to travel further distances to access a Centrelink office. There seems to be no empathy whatsoever by politicians and government towards these people. It will also cost them more to travel to those offices. Not to mention extra time involved when it is well known that the elderly and disabled visit doctors and specialists more often as they need additional treatment to healthy people. The stress of ill health is enough with which to contend without extra aggravation.

It seems that in the 21st century we are going backwards in matters relating to customer service and common sense. It is all about money for the government. Just like to see these politicians come down from their ivory tower and live in the real world.
Mac
24th Feb 2020
1:34pm
ADDITIONAL HEALTH PROBLEMS RELATED TO COMPUTER USE:

Top 10 Computer Related Health Problems
Musculoskeletal Problems. This includes areas of your body such as your back, neck, chest, arms, shoulders and feet. ...
Vision Problems. ...
Repetitive Stress Injuries. ...
Headaches. ...
Obesity. ...
Stress Disorders. ...
Laptop Use Injuries. ...
Sleeping Problems.
More items...•Jun 15, 2016

Top Ten Computer Related Health Problems | MicroHealth
Wake Up
24th Feb 2020
12:33pm
And what do these NUTTERS think we were before we retired, We were tax payers paying for these do nothing seat polishers so don't give me this crap.
marymacn
24th Feb 2020
12:40pm
as a pensioner and also the mother of recently disabled son I am worried and appalled at the proposed changes and lack of caring by the government.
JoJozep
24th Feb 2020
12:41pm
Stop winging, you who voted for the LNP scum.

Centrelink is privatized to Hank Jorgen's private company, so why would he give a shit. He is not an elected politician, and only interested in making profit (less staff poorly paid, totally illiterate of the DHS Act and regulations, government legislation and authority to make any decision. Complete waste of time except to provide the most complex legalistic bullshit application form (56 pages) even a university graduate would find difficult to complete, let alone answer every question in minute detail. This form is then sent to Department of Human Services in Canberra who makes all the decisions whether your application is approved or rejected, not Centrelink, as Centrelink is a put up front let out to a private company, designed to cause as much confusion as possible, how, by employing as few staff as possible and ignorant of the legislation. They couldn't answer your genuine query because of this, and if you press them will often give you the "safe" version that lets them off the hook.

Tactics to burn you off the scent, Delays, long telephone calls that go nowhere, complicated forms, queues, up to two weeks to tell you your application was missing some detail like how many grandmothers you had and if they're still alive and best of all, Centrelink telling you they have no decisive power to do anything without DHS's approval. ScoMo's team works behind the scenes to prune and divide and render powerless most departments or prvatise them so they have no legal powers under the Act (they don't fall under the Act). This mainly applies to entities that spend money. Not so those working to collect money like the ATO, or are designed to win votes in marginal electorates. How many full/part pensions could have been paid out with a measly $200 M you ask, at $25,000 per pension, that's 8,000. If we forgot our 6 submarines, 70 odd frigates, 100 fighter jets, totaling around $300 billion or more. we get wait for it, 12,000,000 pensions, or enough to give everyone a double pension.

100 Million = 4,000 pensions @ $25,000 per pension
1 billion = 40,000 pensions @ $25,000 per pension
100 billion = 4,000,000 pensions @ $25,000 per pension
300 Billion = 12,000,000 pensions @ $25,000 per pension
Rae
24th Feb 2020
1:26pm
The recent tax cuts were also $300 billion. Could have just cancelled them.
patti
24th Feb 2020
12:46pm
Customer "service" is a joke. It's like my bank, which has closed all the branches near to me so I have to travel up to an hour if I need to do something in person. I find the whole system so confusing, dealing with all the agencies with their automated systems is like having a full time job. How fortunate I'm not in the workforce any more.......face to face services are essential, not everything can be done online, and there are still older people who do not have access to new technology. This lot just don't seem to care
marymacn
24th Feb 2020
12:53pm
I could not agree with you more. I too have a problem with banking as well.
What is the use of having a Royal Commission in to Aged Care Services if ultimately the services overall will be less?
KSS
24th Feb 2020
12:50pm
I have no issue with Centrelink closing bricks and mortar premises. BUT before they do:

* reduce the number and complexity of welfare payments (Many are already on multiple payments e.g. Newstart, parenting allowance, rent allowance, youth allowance, mobility allowance, and approved program of work supplement could all be claimed by a single person under 21 with a child!).
* reduce the complexity of application whilst maintaining rigour of assessment and compliance
* redesign the website so that it is more user friendly and people can find what they need. We don't know what we don't know, so how will people discover what they may be able to claim for?
* put arrangements in place to assist those who cannot read and write in English - including for those whose first language is English.
* redeploy staff from the physical offices to the phones and processing departments.
Incognito
25th Feb 2020
12:02am
All those things are already been done.
neil
24th Feb 2020
1:05pm
destruction of services is what this government is about. watch what they do to our health service. Get them out.

Neil.
neil
24th Feb 2020
1:05pm
destruction of services is what this government is about. watch what they do to our health service. Get them out.

Neil.
Bigpop45
24th Feb 2020
1:08pm
I don't believe MyGov works either, as I have uploaded change of circumstances re income twice now, over 2 weeks ago, and nothing has been acknowledged as yet.
John1945
24th Feb 2020
5:05pm
You'll be waiting a while.
I'm nearly 75. After giving up work 3 years ago I applied for the pension online and uploaded all the required forms. Have not had a reply yet.
I tried the telephone a few times but after waiting 40 minutes got cut off, or my phone battery went flat. I've been living on savings. I don't own a house of a car now so I am renting a one-room apartment. I try to cut back on costs by eating mainly bread and jam and rarely go out. I feel totally let down by the gument. I wish we could all just get a basic pension. President Trump got rid of a lot of red-tape and people seem to be happy about it.
Why can't our pollies do the same?
Sundays
24th Feb 2020
7:06pm
John, you should go into a Centrelink Office or talk to your local member, or community group who could help you get the Pension.
diamond
26th Feb 2020
12:26am
The website doesn't work. Uploading info fails to work. Things go missing off my account page. I received a request for information about an asset in which they asked for information dating back six years. No longer trusting the webpage I visited the local office to lodge the information requested. When the officer logged into my page she said "that is not listed". I asked how that could be as obviously the letter I received meant it had to have been listed.
Farside
27th Feb 2020
1:16am
my old mum is 80 and has still not sorted her pension out with Centrelink so you are not alone John struggling to come to terms with the application process. I wonder why it is so difficult for some but seemingly routine for others.
JoJozep
24th Feb 2020
1:17pm
I agree with KSS stating the obvious, that is, making the Welfare system more efficient and cheaper to the taxpayer to run, and including other valid points raised. The only problem I see is the abolishment of Bricks and Mortar buildings. This by nature means sacking staff, (and I draw a distinction between hopeless and knowledgeable staff).

This then means instead of having a nearby facility to raise queries and lodge applications, this will no longer be the case and I would guess at least half the aged population would be left stranded. This would be disastrous for many that cannot access the facilities on line as they missed the computer revolution.

I fully agree with using HiTech to make situations more efficient and cheaper to run, but for those unable to access on line facilities, and there are many in this category, it wouldn't be fair. so technology should only be brought in when it has no harmful side effects. Here is a silly but possible development, suppose, we reach the point of looking up our health condition on line, making a self diagnosis and basically healing ourselves, we wouldn't need doctors, or specialist hospitals. Silly as this may seem, all it takes is a well spruiked bright spark to waffle in the governments ear they could save money by eliminating XYZ, and the government, forever chasing the good life will start bringing in policies and legislation so as to appear they are doing something. Whether it's right or wrong is of little consequence. The goons who are not dependent on welfare will soundly support such action AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T AFFECT THEM PERSONALLY!

The human greed and self preservation element is in all of us, and it takes a brave person to fight against it when others start to suffer.
Colours
24th Feb 2020
1:18pm
I'd be OK with it if they ever answered their phones.
Rae
24th Feb 2020
1:19pm
Why did they sell the buildings in the first place if renting them back was an issue?
Virginia
24th Feb 2020
1:19pm
This is totally irrational you have an age demographic who didn't grow up with computers didn't have the ability to have super as it was not compulsory until my last 15 years working.
Access to computers is difficult
Using computers is sometimes impossible with the dropouts etc with NBN . I am totally over the new fast paperless instant communication which IS NOT.
101
26th Feb 2020
11:04am
So you waited until Super was compulsory?
Farside
27th Feb 2020
1:19am
the Be Connected program is aimed specifically at people like you Virginia. Sign up at http://beconnected.esafety.gov.au
cupoftea
24th Feb 2020
1:28pm
Centrelink are not there to help you I waited at home the whole day waiting for the phone call that never came when I went down to see them they were to busy to ring me but if I wasn't at home to answer it would of hit the fan
Polly
24th Feb 2020
1:42pm
Good idea re a callback Farside - I already tried that, specified the landline number but turned my mobile on at 7.30 one morning to discover message saying they tried my mobile number and I missed the call. . .
Aussie
24th Feb 2020
2:25pm
What anybody expect from the coalition government. ????? Many of you vote for them so here are the results changes and changes and changes ...put up.... And do not complain.... You vote for them … next election some of you must think a lot before voting for these SEAT WARMERS

It is my opinion – no offence to anybody
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
2:55pm
It would not matter who was in power the same would be happening. People no longer visit bricks and mortar.
101
26th Feb 2020
11:09am
If you haven't anticipated the decline in services and pension decline in real terms then you are the problem. The data has been provided for the last 50 years, if you chose to ignore it and hope for the best, live with it.
The data shows it is only get worse until the system is totally overhauled as the number on welfare continue to increase while number employed reduces.
floss
24th Feb 2020
2:30pm
The Hillsong Hero is at it again perhaps a cash card may be on the way it has been trialed for some years.Any change will slug pensioners you can bet on that, just not worth all the fuss claiming any benefit so we don't bother.
mogo51
24th Feb 2020
2:35pm
I am like a crab under a rock, don't contact them as my situation never changes. I have had a couple of pleasant experiences with c/link staff but that was a few years ago and coulx not have been more helpful. But the opposite has also occurred.
I do not see how a multi millionaireliving in a mansion should get Aged Pension - does not need it and has vprobably been rorting the cimplex tax system for years. The rich pay far less than wage earners on a pro rata basis. But apart from that, all the bs that goes with it should be thrown oht the window. Fancy being penalised as a pensioner if you want to earn a few hundred a week. So heaven forbid, we can lead a decent existence, totally ridiculous.
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
2:54pm
The top 10% of income earners pay 80% of the income tax revenue so they is no way they ay less than the average wage earner. A man earning $60,000 or less with a family gets a lot more back than he pays in tax.

Yes you can live in a $20 million house and get the full pension. It is an excellent way for the family to create wealth tax free.
leek
24th Feb 2020
2:59pm
MOGO51. There are many many people living in houses tha are now worth over 1 million dollars, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. My aunty bought her house over 50 years ago, it is now almost falling down around her, is now worth almost $1.5 million. But with a little help she can still live there. And she has that right to,. This doens't make her rich though.

She is just as poor as anybody else. It wasn't her fault that a house she bought for $15,000 in the 70's is now worth $1.5m because of its location. She can live there as long as she is capable of looking after herself.
She is by no means a millionaire.
Laura52
24th Feb 2020
3:17pm
Leek, on point here . I am a carer for my parents and our house is also over 50 years old and because of location it is worth around 1 million too, despite it needing so, so, so much repair, eradication of mould, painting, new tiles, cracked walls and ceiling , plastering, new carpet, list goes on....we can't afford any repairs, renovations...doesn't look like a mansion. My parents and I don't have much in the bank, and live week to week. I doubt that centrelink will assess a house on its physical state.
ray @ Bondi
24th Feb 2020
2:37pm
out of touch and have lost any connection with real people.
is labor better though, they are not committing to anything also, the trouble when people have unfettered access to a golden trough they quickly forget what it is like and empathy becomes an unknown word!!.
Anonymous
24th Feb 2020
2:51pm
Yes I agree they are cutting off access to the welfare golden tough.
morrowj1122
24th Feb 2020
3:12pm
Oh what a wonderful country! Caring,resourceful and forward thinking. I am so proud to be an elderly Aussie. ( yep, sarcasm)
travelman
24th Feb 2020
3:34pm
This is a government that has 'fallen of its trolley' the biggest failure in history. As usual their economic policies waste more money than any dictatorship in the world. Democracy!! this government does not know anything about democracy and I would believe they would not know how to spell the word. As for Scott Morrison, you can take it from me that he is not a Christian - I know because I am one and Jesus said you will know those who claim to follow me but he said do not believe them for they, like a fruit tree, show no good fruit in due season only barrenness at all seasons.
travelman
24th Feb 2020
3:34pm
This is a government that has 'fallen of its trolley' the biggest failure in history. As usual their economic policies waste more money than any dictatorship in the world. Democracy!! this government does not know anything about democracy and I would believe they would not know how to spell the word. As for Scott Morrison, you can take it from me that he is not a Christian - I know because I am one and Jesus said you will know those who claim to follow me but he said do not believe them for they, like a fruit tree, show no good fruit in due season only barrenness at all seasons.
Ginaus
24th Feb 2020
6:36pm
STOP VOTING FOR LABOR AND LIBERALS!
ex PS
29th Feb 2020
10:48am
The problem is, you vote for an Independant and in most cases they will side with the government.
Get rid of this mob who have proven to be dishonest, incompetant and corrupt, give Labor a go, but make it clear to them that if they don't perform they will go the same way.
Vote the LibNats in again and you are sending them a message that lies and corruption are perfectly fine by us.
We will end up with the government we deserve.
You don't put a fox in your hen house and then complain the chickens have all gone.
Teacher
24th Feb 2020
6:55pm
Yes, more people are accessing on line because they are being forced into it when they front up at a Centrelink office. This is extremely hard for the senior section of pensioners who don't know anything about computers and, unless helped (which requires the services of a Centrelink attendant) they could possibly negate their payments by mistake.
Even then, the attendants sometimes have trouble getting through on the computer.
The Centrelink office I attend has about 8 computer stations for staff but I haven't seen more than 3 of those being manned by staff at any time. Probably they now don't have the staff to man them.
Funkee
24th Feb 2020
8:27pm
Sorry but NEVER will I vote for the LNP. Their mismanagement and careless disregard for almost every aspect of society has me wondering if they are even actually human. What is going on? And for HJ to tell us they have a responsibility to the taxpayer !!! Pfffft, since when has that ever bothered them?
Priscilla
24th Feb 2020
9:13pm
Utterly rediculous! For many many people this is the only contact available. Trying to contact Centrelink by phone is time wasting and frustrating as you have to listen to recorded messages asking if you want to hear dozens of budget changes. Same applies to Medicare. People contact Centrelink because they have a problem or need to make changes. If this happens we need to vote for a government that looks after our needs and which we can easily physically access.
Incognito
25th Feb 2020
12:13am
With the Mornington office in Victoria they will have to travel 15 mins to Frankston, well I would have to travel 20 mins one way to an office. This office was relocated from a smaller office a few years ago into their current location which is twice as big and twice as empty, a big waste of space and more money on the lease I would expect. Why did they move next to a shopping centre instead of the main street and into a bigger office? Might be better if the Government stopped the rort of Job Providers getting billions for doing nothing except stressing people out.
JoJozep
25th Feb 2020
1:11pm
To people like Retiringwell. I say what are you envious of? You obviously don't need a pension, as your tax rorts have stood you well over the years. Prove to me you have paid all your due taxes over the years without setting up smartarse schemes like business in the Bahamas. I will then apologize. Also, were you lucky and inherited a fortune from your parents, and so you can afford to retire well. Your nomenclature is obnoxious and reflects your biased point of view.

Just remember where the government got its revenue from. We, (my wife and I )paid nearly $2 million in taxes, and I missed out on a part pension, which I had many years ago. Recently I got it back with a little help from a Financial planner. I mean, I hope my past taxes are not supporting jealous people like you. If you have the balls, prove me wrong, but don't put up such trash on this website.

The present government thinks it has due access to our past taxes, imposed to cover our retirement. ScoMo is more a criminal type, stealing our tax revenue to pay for his mates comfort and bogus schemes like our totally useless defence forces. Who is going to attack us? If China, we represent a fly on the camel's back. Our forces would be destroyed immediately since we are using 70 year old technology, if not in the shipyards undergoing repairs. Let us not forget China is a superpower with Nuclear Weapons. What have we got? Probably some WW2 relics. What is New Zealand doing to protect itself? It couldn't stop a boat load (or should I say canoe load) of hordes descending on their shores.

Only the threat of WW3 stops these morons from attacking other countries. Point is, we are sucking up to the USA to sort of show our commitments to defence. Our main defence so far is stopping unarmed refugees. We call these "boat people" to stigmatize them and treat them like criminals with offshore detention. Yes! we are watching. Point is, the $ 300 million we are spending on defence is totally useless, and should have been spent on the older age group AS IT"S THEIR MONEY, not yours.

Governments of this country like our sons and daughters to go and fight other countries and risk their lives, for what? I see Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Afghanistanies, Syrians, Libyans, Russians etc., as enemies as painted by this government from time to time. Who are they pleasing? The war lords of Australia (yes we have them)? They would be the last people to attend an ongoing battle

Off course you will vote LNP, All they care about is staying in power!. About the labour Party, they, to me at least, appear to do the right thing. Remember they have been out of office for about 7 years now and don't have the access to Public Servants or decision makers. So it's difficult to make policies. The LNP do, so they use the time old tactic, if you can't or don't have policies, it's easier to poo-ha the opposition, as they are in a weakened state, that is, throw the failures of the LNP onto someone else's shoulders. The next election will bring out the dishonest morons of this great country.

If I'm wrong in my observations (and I can only deduce my conclusions from your posts) then I will apologize for taking this stand.
Jtee
25th Feb 2020
8:02pm
UNIVERSAL PENSION UNRELATED TO ASSETS. Pay tax on income as per ATO rules.

Where is the humanity in the Department of HUMAN Services? It has been lost I think.
McDaddy
26th Feb 2020
2:57pm
Whoops, you won't like this then
https://www.worldfinance.com/wealth-management/top-5-most-sustainable-pension-systems-worldwide
Ducky
26th Feb 2020
7:05am
If they need to save money then Hank could take a pay cut along with the rest of Government employees, that alone would save enough to cover all costs. Why have we older people been paying tax all of our lives when we can't be looked after when we are too old to work.
Farside
27th Feb 2020
1:29am
those historical taxes you paid back in the day were used to fund the services and benefits provided by government back in the day.
Pass the Ductape
26th Feb 2020
7:50am
Closing offices.....'For the benefit of the taxpayer.'

Well I was a taxpayer for 50 years and I see absolutely NO benefit to me. Just another kick in the guts for the common man and woman!
Hairy
26th Feb 2020
2:25pm
This bunch of crooks we have as a goverment are the most dispicable bloody human beings that have ever been voted in ,they are a disgrace.traitors, rorters ,theives, they would sell their own mother.my vote went to them because the independant sold me out, even the voting system is a rort.
Farside
27th Feb 2020
1:30am
not happy with Morrison and the rest of his mates then.
Hairy
26th Feb 2020
3:11pm
You get what you pay for H.J. Stands High Jacker thats what hes done . Maybe thats why gov employs him ???
QuickeyeQld
27th Feb 2020
12:22am
This is scary. There are so many people who require face to face services. What do deaf people do? It is so hard to sort out these things while trying to read captions, on a text phone, when the captioning service is not accurate. But don't forget Bill Shorten sold the deaf community up the creek when he set up the Captiview system in cinemas, which effectively chased the deaf away from there. Never, never, never listen to anything Bill Shorten has to say.
ex PS
27th Feb 2020
6:01pm
Unless you have thousands to donate to their election campaign, the Linats don't care what happens to you.
They keep kicking their supporters in the teeth and keep getting re-elected, they don't even have to pretend they are doing the right thing.
No wonder Sootie from marketing has a permanent smirk on his face.
wogaroo
1st Mar 2020
11:53am
This Murdoch led government is crucifying the elderly big time. Why aren't our families Jumping up and down to protect us, even a little! No one seems to give a "shit" about us elderly folk! Maybe its up to us to stand up in one united voice. Honkey Tonk Jonken should be sacked! It seems to me and others that he is completely inadequate to fulfill his position!
East of Toowoomba
2nd Mar 2020
8:02am
Considering many times customers walk into Centrelink to seek assistance and are then redirected to the computer to conduct their business, where are all these people going to go to access the Centrelink computers in the future? This is the way they do business, but now they are going to take the only conduit many people will have for online services, away as well as face to face service options. Shame on you Centrelink, Shame.

BTW I know we can use our phone to contact them, but mobile phone batteries can go flat and call costs can be exorbitant when having to wait an hour plus, for someone to pick up. Not everyone has a smart phone or are capable of using apps.
Pass the Ductape
3rd Mar 2020
9:23am
They conveniently don't concern themselves with these little things EofT.
JoJozep
3rd Mar 2020
10:22am
I've just skimmed though all the posts, and I confess, i missed something Farside said about who's money are the aged dealing with. I see two major streams here. It's a before and after scenario.

1. Before Super Schemes were introduced. At this point, governments collected taxes and distributed pensions from taxes collected at the time.

2. After Super schemes were introduced. After Keating's? schemes were introduced, everyone contributed super at set rates. These were supposedly paid by employers to employees and thus should not have imposed additional taxation on employees.
Whether they were paid or not is another question, as I was underpaid personally till the ATO caught up with my employer many years later. The whole idea of super fees was to provide for our individual retirement pensions.

This condenses the question of who's money are we dealing with? Before super was introduced, it was every taxpayer's money that a proportion went to pay pensions and person care, after super, it was further refined, and those who put more money into super generally did better in retirement, though this was eaten into by successive governments to pay for those who were unemployed or already pensioners in this period with no super contributions. It's become really complicated

It's now so complicated, I don't know whether I'm Arthur, farther or farter from the truth. I've actually given up worrying about it. I might as well try and enjoy my grey years before I start questioning the creatures below the soil.


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