Yesterday, senior public servants from the Department of Human Services informed the Senate Estimates Committee that more than 22 million phone calls to Centrelink were blocked in the past year. It has been claimed that smartphone apps were to blame for the blockages, with up to 1000 calls at a time bombarding the phone systems.
A blocked call occurs when the agency is handling a large volume of calls – with the queuing system not allowing any more users to enter the queue. The 22 million phone calls blocked in 2014/15 is a significant increase on the 13 million blocked in 2013/14.
Early this year, a National Audit Office also revealed that Australians spent 143 years waiting to speak to Centrelink consultants in 2013/14 before simply hanging up in frustration.
“From questions during estimates it appears that Centrelink has no interest in taking further action in driving down the worrying statistics,” said West Australian Senator Rachel Siewert. “At a time when the government is happy to paint people on income support as ‘dole bludgers’, having infrastructure in place that clearly can’t cope with demand shows a fundamental flaw.”
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