When is a post office not a PO?

When is a post office not a post office?

When is a post office not a PO?
Image credit: Shutterstock

On Monday the Australian Financial Review reported that a spokesperson for Treasurer Joe Hockey confirmed that the newly formed Abbott Government Commission of Audit would consider closing Centrelink offices, delivering ‘front-office’ services instead via one of the 4,400 Australia Post outlets. The proposal is one of many the Commission of Audit, led by Business Council of Australia chairman Tony Shepherd, will review with the aim of making significant cuts in order to balance the nation’s books.

In addition to the proposal to send Centrelink services to Australia Post, the Commission of Audit will also explore the feasibility of giving responsibility to deliver the new DisabilityCare Australia (also known as the NDIS) services to Medibank Private. Mr Hockey has described DisabilityCare Australia as a “massive new bureaucracy”.

On ABC Radio National Breakfast yesterday, Labor senator Doug Cameron slammed the two proposals, stating that Centrelink provides a “very specialised” service, and that this service was “not just about rocking up and getting your payment”.

Centrelink is a very specialised delivery of benefits to Australians... my local post office would in no way be capable of delivering that service.”

He went on to note that Centrelink “is about people who can’t find work, people who have significant personal problems in some cases … I don’t think the local post office is capable of dealing with that.”

He was also disapproving of the NDIS change, replying that it is “not something that should be driven by profit’”.

Read more from the Australian Financial Review. 

ABC Radio National Breakfast. 

Opinion: Leave Centrelink where it is

It’s somewhat ironic that two government-owned institutions - which may be on the chopping block themselves - are considered fit to take over service delivery for pensions and new DisabilityCare Australia entitlements. And if, as rumoured, Australia Post and Medibank Private are indeed privatised, private enterprise owners will then be responsible for the management of practically all government entitlements. Is this really the way to handle the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are most in need?

According to the Government’s MoneySmart website, around 65 per cent of older Australians rely on a government pension or allowance as their main source of personal income at retirement.

On 17 October, it was reported that Centrelink call times had blown out due to staffing shortages – and more alarmingly, 24,000 cases are awaiting review, sometimes for as long as six months.

So as our population ages – and this was flagged as a key challenge by Mr. Hockey when he announced the Commission of Audit – and more people are likely to join the current 65 per cent requiring an entitlement, it is bizarre that this is when our new government is considering contracting service delivery on such entitlements.

It is one thing to review a service, which delivers well, and has extra staff who might be better employed elsewhere. A good task for a Commission of Audit.

It is quite another to expect that an organisation which is already found wanting can be foisted onto another, dissimilar, organisation and that the clients will be well served.

Of course they won’t.

As Senator Cameron noted, Centrelink is there for people who require special services, perhaps because they are out of work, or otherwise challenged. He might also have mentioned that there are many frail older Australians totally dependent on their meager Centrelink entitlement. So as well as waiting too long on the phone, and then joining a lengthy queue if you ask for your case to be reviewed, you can now join the queue at your local post office, behind the eBay trader sending 10 boxes to Japan, the lady who needs a passport photo and the small business owner who wants to organise six different registered parcels. Get the picture?

So to the new commissioners on the Commission of Audit, I would just like to say, this is a seriously bad suggestion. Dump it now.

What about you? Do you think Post Offices are a good ‘shopfront’ for Centrelink services? Would it be better than the existing offices?





    COMMENTS

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    Pickles
    29th Oct 2013
    10:58am
    Our Post Office is in a News-agency and the news-agency and the agency is run by an Asian couple who speak a very stilted version of our Australian Language as well as young casuals These people are nice people but how would they be able to understand the complexities of the Centrelink legislation and how long would it take to get a decision made on any questions asked
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2013
    12:37pm
    Indeed.. but it would fit in with the current policy of 'off-shoring' call centres. Would you like papadums with that.. or fry ri'e?
    Foxy
    29th Oct 2013
    2:25pm
    ..interesting - mine is run also by Asians - lovely people but often they do not understand what your simple postal requirements are? Plus with large "open counters" how are people going to be able to discuss things privately? No room in Post offices around here where I live for "booths/seats" etc. - can't happen - won't happen - far too complex!!! Ridiculous idea!
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    3:14pm
    it's a cost-cutting act. Giving work to the private sector and letting them deal with the running costs. I honestly thought our Government was supposed to look after and care for us ... what a joke. I'm going to cry now .... blow the wrinkles, if I need a face lift I'll go to Thailand and get my teeth fixed at the same time.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    3:32pm
    It's cost cutting for the government and raising costs for us. Since when has it been proved that private enterprise have reduced costs for the user. Look at what has already been privatized, all have increased costs.

    I will give one small example.

    I have lived in the country for 10 years and got to know the locals very well. The road going past my place is continuously collapsing. I found that they always were there was a culvert to direct water under the road.

    I was talking to one of the locals and she said that wasn't surprising. In the past they had a guy who was employed to periodically check all the culverts for blockage. probably cost 30 to 40K. There were no road collapses as he had the blockages cleared.

    He was sacked and road maintenance out sourced. In the last year three culverts collapsed. All of them took over a week one two weeks to fix (that was actually working on them) closing the road for this time. The amount of work required to to fix them was immense looking as if they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix.

    I looked at one of the fixes recently and it was looking as if it was going to collapse again.

    Now this was just in my area goodness knows what was happening elsewhere as the inspector checked all the culverts in the whole shire.

    Now the CEO of the shire probably thought that it was a good cost cutting measure to get rid of the Culvert inspector. WOW.

    Guess part of the rate increase was paying for this.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2013
    5:52pm
    I very much doubt that this sort of agency will be used for transferring Centrelink Activities - may even mean you get back a real PO instead. Article says that AP is owned by the people and sole shareholder is Minister of Finance and of course a GBE. Some posting seem to think the lot sold off - thank God it is not - yet anyway.

    And as for Cameron - ex Unions and Senator when has he ever had to sign on anyway. Give you a set of forms to fill in and then an interview - would have to provide private area for the interview and seats but after that it is merely handing in the form is it not and some say they post theirsand the money appears in their bank account. So getting rid of duplication of public servants by utilising a huge AP which has lost a lot of its business to email would imo save us all money. After all we hope not to have too many having to sign on dont we?
    Nightshade
    29th Oct 2013
    11:16am
    I doubt that they will give it to Australia Post as is.
    it may mean that Australia Post is transformed - I see this as a good thing.
    I went to post a letter in an A4 envelope - the lady picking up from the local post facility, smiled as she took it from me - 7am 'ish .
    Early afternoon my friend at Owen Dixon Chambers West received it.
    Efficient service with a smile - thank god they have not sold Australia Post.
    Nightshade
    29th Oct 2013
    11:19am
    Did you know that of all the postal services, in all the nations of the world Australia Post is considered to be the best.
    biddi
    29th Oct 2013
    12:10pm
    Nightshade : I can well believe that. I sent a letter to Sweden recently and it took
    10 days to arrive. This is the norm.
    Aloysius
    29th Oct 2013
    12:13pm
    A lot of suburban post offices are privately owned franchises.
    Alipal
    29th Oct 2013
    2:47pm
    My grandkids are still waiting for their post cards I sent from Yellowstone back in June. Or perhaps I posted them in a rubbish bin by mistake. The ones from Lantau Island took just over a week.
    dippity
    29th Oct 2013
    6:12pm
    perhaps your Yellowstone cards are still in the US, Alipal. Their system over there is seriously underfunded in some states and their service suffers because of that. Having said that I do receive a lot of things ordered online and they do appear in a timely manner, generally within a day or two of promised delivery times - generally before, not after the stated times too
    Nightshade
    29th Oct 2013
    6:52pm
    What can I say - my post man talks to friends on the hands free out aloud as he delivers our mail. Sometimes he gets it wrong but he's a happy guy. My former next door neighbor would throw any mail that was not his in the bin - bad guy - he was also weird.
    As far as I am concerned anything is better than what we have now.
    I was in Centrelink one day & it happened in front of me.
    A mum with her 2 kids had been waiting since 9:30 am - it was now 11:45 am - she asked the man at the counter how many more people were there ahead of her - he said 7 - she asked if she could have an appointment please as she could not wait much longer - because of the kids - who were very well behave I might add - he said NO - "so I might be here all afternoon " - To which he replied with a smart arse attitude & a smile "yes you might"
    She was declaring some income or some such thing -
    He could have easily organised an appointment
    He lied - pig.
    We need to get our act together.
    This is the 21 century & not the days of YORE
    AND bullying & intimidation is against the law & a custodial sentence if convicted, in Victoria.
    bubyshka
    4th Nov 2013
    1:23pm
    IT is indeed woeful, NO centrelink should be left as is.
    Australia Post can't cope now. What HOPE have they in processing all those that need processing at the P>O. It absolutely stupid!! Rediculous, and many more words i'd like to say. but feel like i'd just be banging my head on a brick wall?
    mazza
    29th Oct 2013
    11:42am
    I think this is a terrible Idea, how would the post office ever deal with all the clients center link have to cope with.
    jeneregretrien
    29th Oct 2013
    5:15pm
    Easy, the PO can just place a rubber stamp on all the forms.
    tia-maria
    29th Oct 2013
    5:19pm
    mazza, you can only imagine what their thinking???????? especially during the Christmas rush............I am wondering if the same apply to the retired politicians do they go to the Post Office as well?????
    wrenjay
    29th Oct 2013
    11:51am
    I agree with mazza it is a mad idea., and I hope it does not happen.
    NeilC
    29th Oct 2013
    12:03pm
    Folks, the bloody bright sparks are at it again with their hair-brained ideas. I firmly believe that public assets are NOT FOR SALE unless subject to a referendum. They are technically "our" property and that's one of the reasons I've shunned State and Fed Labor and the Libs - flogging off public assets without permission .. Telstra; Vic power, water, gas; QR National as examples.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    1:17pm
    I agree with you NeilC. Public assets belong to the people. Governments should be concerned in making them more efficient not selling them off.

    I believe anything that has ramifications to the entire community should be a referendum at the time of the elections. Once assets are gone they are gone for ever including the income from them. Politicians are just opportunists looking after themselves. "Look we flogged off the Heccs debt and reduced the surplus. Aren't we good. Vote for us again) Meanwhile the poor students are struggling with increased interest rates (yes that will come once private enterprise cries can't make a profit just like the electricity companies)a vast majority of students probably dropping out.

    Hey students if you do drop out and are reading this claim bankruptcy that will sort them out. You can't pay much on the dole.
    Oldmac
    29th Oct 2013
    11:58am
    I have had to interact many times in the past 18 months as I may be considered a "complicated" case...Age Pension, but on 2 year bar from pension overseas. Part pension under International Agreement with Canada. Family Tax Benefit but with wife still in Visit Visa. Yet I have been treated with courtesy and respect and patience by Centrelink staff. I believe they do a great job though understaffed and inefficient processes. I think what is needed is a review of processes and productivity within Centrelink using existing staff as source of most ideas. Just streamline existing organisation dont dump it!
    Michael
    29th Oct 2013
    8:54pm
    Best and most sensible post yet, an excellent suggestion.
    biddi
    29th Oct 2013
    12:08pm
    Horrendous and ridiculous suggestion. Centrelink is very specialised. When would a Post Office staff member have the time to discuss things with you?
    Janie
    29th Oct 2013
    3:42pm
    Like anything that needs to be discussed, you make an appointment at the Post Office, like you do if you need a Passport renewed, or a Working with Children form lodged, lot's of different things are now done at the Post office, you just don't amble in and expect to be seen, especially at busy times, hence appointments.
    Aurora60
    29th Oct 2013
    8:42pm
    and then wait an hour and a half in the queue which I imagine would be out the door because they can't fit seats in there - just to be asked one question they already have the answer for. Yeah right!
    Nugget33
    29th Oct 2013
    12:09pm
    Australia Post couldn't be any worse than Centrelink is now. I have just had to make 3 calls to Centrelink this morning, being on hold for 40-50 minutes each time. When I eventually got to speak to someone, and they were about to give me some important information, the phone cut off. Wouldn't you think they would ring me back ? Not on your life. It's not as if they didn't have my details - in fact the girl asked me for my phone number.

    They're just public servants, so I suppose we can't expect to much.

    Instead of being kept on hold, why don't they adopt a system that other organisations do, where you leave your name and phone number and they will ring you back without losing your place in the queue ?

    It's no better at a Centrelink Office. I was told that for my minor inquiry that they would put me in the express lane to see a customer service officer and that there would be a wait time of about 10 minutes. After 1 hour and 45 minutes I finally got to see someone ! My inquiry was resolved in less than 5 minutes !

    Their office had about 20 desks, all with computer systems on them, but all afternoon there was only about 3 staff actually sitting at these desks and attending to the huge queue of customers.

    It was the Labor Government that savagely cut the staff of Centrelink, but it looks like the Liberals will also slash and burn as usual.
    dougie
    29th Oct 2013
    3:27pm
    Nugget 33 do not blame the staff on the call centre for problems contacting Centrelink. Those people do a fabulous job and generally with courtesy and good humour. Some may become a little tetchy at times but you just imagine what they have to put up with. Not all clients are polite easy to deal with and patient. Th with some but not in depth training. Get off their backs and give them the kudos they deserveey have to deal with an everchanging computer system
    Chookman
    29th Oct 2013
    9:11pm
    You are correct re the slash and burn - this is now the final razing of service. As a former Centrelink employee - over 20 years - I have spent the last few years attempting to stop the decline and was aware that this was on the agenda. It will see a further deterioration of the service to the most vulnerable - but then the coalition doesn't care about them.
    AussieTuca
    29th Oct 2013
    12:10pm
    Dear Lord!!!
    Thanks heaves I am retired and my need to address Centrelink in person is rare. The phone consultations work well and they call me back when there is a long queue but I remember my days when I had to go there in person to fix some problem and pity those who still have to do it these days. This consolidation is simply madness...

    And what about the current staff? Are they going to join the dole queue as well? The system is really deteriorating...
    wally
    29th Oct 2013
    12:29pm
    This looks like something only a committee of bureaucrats could come up with. If it goes through, it will mean even more inconvenience and longer queues for Australia Post's customers. I would not be surprised to see it happen.

    29th Oct 2013
    12:42pm
    Who's going to handle all the Centrelink employees put out of work?

    When are governments going to wake up to the simple fact that not having people in paid work leads directly to their inability to purchase, which leads directly to the inability of business to move goods (same as The Great Depression FCS), which drives us into the poverty traps of being a Banana Republic?

    Far, far better to employ YOUR people and have a viable eco0nomy - not one with 7% acknowledged unemployment (maybe X three) and '40% of the workforce not in regular paid work'.

    WTF do these people imagine they are elected to do? Focus on their pissy departmental budgets and push some agenda that ALWAYS, from whatever side, lowers the real standards for the many to enhance the few?

    Vote 1 - Grappler Party. We ARE The people! (LMAO emoticon)
    Taswegian1957
    29th Oct 2013
    12:45pm
    I really can't see how Post Offices could take the place of Centrelink. It is true that a lot of the routine stuff can be done online or over the phone but there are many Centrelink clients who can't or won't use these services. Apart from the time factor of waiting in a queue with people paying bills and sending parcels there is also the issue of privacy. At a Centrelink Office if you have a complicated or sensitive issue you will be seen by a person at a desk away from the public. In a small country town doing that sort of business at the front counter while your neighbours come and go would be embarrassing and for some humiliating.
    KSS
    29th Oct 2013
    12:45pm
    In my area they recently closed the medicare office and moved services to Centrelink. So now Centrelink not only deals with pensions and unemployment benefits etc but also healthcare rebates.

    Would you like a stamp with your benefit?
    rtrish
    29th Oct 2013
    1:23pm
    Agree with that, KSS. Medicare moved to Centrelink in my area as well.
    Mamacrystal
    29th Oct 2013
    3:35pm
    They moved here too.....think it was a pretty universal move
    Finni
    29th Oct 2013
    12:46pm
    You must be kidding again the country people who have already lost services, and had their post office already privosed will no get no service at all not to say that all centre link staff are all ready uni students

    How are they going to train the staff
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    1:30pm
    They will probably do what some private companies have done when they made people redundant to source overseas. They will threaten the staff with not getting their entitlements unless they train the staff.

    Oh! that another thought maybe the government will outsource Centrelink overseas.

    Damm! I may have put an idea in some pollies mindless mind.

    Just like Slyes idea "Britain's is outsourcing their equivalent of Heccs so, so should we"

    Can't think for himself, has other people doing it for him.

    When are our pollies going to stop following what's happening overseas on the assumption it must be good. Stop these so-called overseas junkets and maybe they will. Wonder how many Pollies from other countries come here to get ideas. None probably, as we have just pinched their ideas, good or bad. Nothing new to see.
    Penqueen1949
    29th Oct 2013
    1:03pm
    The mind boggles at what this so called government will come up with next while they rip off tax payers with their outlandish 'expenses claims. The days of Robin Hood come to mind.....
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    3:01pm
    don't get married or the pollies will have more expenses claims.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    1:05pm
    I wonder who thought up this madcap idea. The post Office is good at what they do. Delivering letters and and parcels and some simple aside tasks that do not require any decision making or much expertise.

    People have enough trouble understanding things in Centrelink as it is. How on the earth do they expect people who are basically sales people to understand the complexities of peoples situations and apply the myriad rules and regulations. Who have we put into running our country. Don't they understand that they are there to run the country and supply services to us.

    I pity any of the Centrelink staff who have been made redundant having to turn up to a post office to lodge claims and having to show the staff what they have to do.

    This is a bit like Slyes (you know who I mean) wanting to flog the student heccs into the maws of private enterprise for short term gain. Some overseas conglomerate will probably by it and all the interest the students pay will end up going overseas instead of staying in the country.

    Our country is slowing ending up with all our assets being owned elsewhere. We fought for freedom not being owned by other countries. We might as well have lost the war.
    The diggers must be quivering in their graves.
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    2:59pm
    Wstaton, let's sell our politicians to some o/seas country. Nahhh I forgot, the pollies are slowly selling Australia AND her jobs o/seas so we the people may as well set up camp somewhere o/seas. I am getting more and more disillusioned with our Government every day. I could just cry (but crying will give me wrinkles!!)
    SuzieQ
    29th Oct 2013
    1:17pm
    I can't see it happening. I haven't been in many Centre link offices but I know our local office is large and airy with plenty of space between desks. How many large airy post offices do you know of? Our local is small, two strides from the entrance and you're at the counter!
    Of course everyone could move into the spacious Centre link office. Medicare is there already and there will still be room for our local post office.
    Nah! It's not going to work.
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    2:52pm
    put i in the local tavern/pub,then we can have a cuppa or a drink while we wait and maybe not notice the lack of professionalism shown us. Hon-est-ly ... this is too stupid for words!!
    rtrish
    29th Oct 2013
    1:28pm
    Many people now sensibly do their 'basic' Centrelink business by phone or online. The people who have to go into the offices are often in need of more specialised services. Then there's the Financial Information officers and the social workers. How on earth can Post Office employees deal with all that? Also, I have been in a Centrelink office when a person began behaving in a disturbing and threatening way. The Centrelink officers moved in - they are obviously well trained at this - defused the situation and calmed things down. This idea of having Post Offices do the Centrelink tasks is a crazy suggestion; naive, hasty and foolish.
    tisme
    29th Oct 2013
    1:29pm
    that may mean more people are given access to peoples private information. if politicians want to start cutting funding then they should start with their own. we would save billions.
    dougie
    29th Oct 2013
    1:39pm
    This should not happen as it will open up the Centrelink system to so many people who are not fully trained nor who have been scrutinised for the many clearances required to deal with this system. It also would lead to the chance of much fraudulent activity from those who will try to beat any system.
    Be aware that the Centrelink system is linked to the Tax Office, Immigration, Banking etc and as such must be kept in Government hands where some form of control is applicable.
    You only have to look at some of the shonky happenings that occurred when the Job Placement was opened up. Thankfully the worst of these have been eliminated and the genuine remain. How much money was wasted in the initial commencement and running of the system?
    dougie
    29th Oct 2013
    1:39pm
    This should not happen as it will open up the Centrelink system to so many people who are not fully trained nor who have been scrutinised for the many clearances required to deal with this system. It also would lead to the chance of much fraudulent activity from those who will try to beat any system.
    Be aware that the Centrelink system is linked to the Tax Office, Immigration, Banking etc and as such must be kept in Government hands where some form of control is applicable.
    You only have to look at some of the shonky happenings that occurred when the Job Placement was opened up. Thankfully the worst of these have been eliminated and the genuine remain. How much money was wasted in the initial commencement and running of the system?
    dougie
    29th Oct 2013
    1:39pm
    This should not happen as it will open up the Centrelink system to so many people who are not fully trained nor who have been scrutinised for the many clearances required to deal with this system. It also would lead to the chance of much fraudulent activity from those who will try to beat any system.
    Be aware that the Centrelink system is linked to the Tax Office, Immigration, Banking etc and as such must be kept in Government hands where some form of control is applicable.
    You only have to look at some of the shonky happenings that occurred when the Job Placement was opened up. Thankfully the worst of these have been eliminated and the genuine remain. How much money was wasted in the initial commencement and running of the system?
    Alexia_x
    29th Oct 2013
    1:49pm
    You must be kidding! The Post Office? What a joke!
    I think Mr.Hockey and Mr. Sheppard should go back to their golf games and forget about balancing the economy of this country.
    Are this the people Australians elected to govern and administer them? Hopefully they will be "deposed" soon!
    Post Offices here are only to deliver post and other functions would be most detrimental to all as most of the offices are, as someone else said, serviced by oriental people who can hardly speak or understand English and got probably the position by buying it!
    Maybe Mr Hockey lost his mind following his slimming diet and perhaps he should donate part of his huge salary to someone, maybe a group of "someones" (pensioners) who need it most.
    Why politicians get such huge salaries and benefits and pensioners are suffering? Are pensioners lesser beings?
    Common people, get up and reject these totally ridiculous forms of government!
    Rob
    29th Oct 2013
    2:10pm
    I think the government has a "plan" in suggesting that the post office take over the former duties of Centrelink and that is to frustrate, upset and finally drive people crazy who totally rely on pensions to actually exist (e.g. frail, elderly people). How on earth would post office staff be able to comprehend over 100 different types of pensions; have the time to sit down and comprehend any accompanying documentation that has to be read, let alone understand and be able to navigate the pages and pages of computer information? No wonder politicians have gone down in the voters' estimation. What a no-brainer idea is this and what genius came up with the idea? We are living in a very constricting and worrying time indeed.
    nightie
    29th Oct 2013
    2:17pm
    I know that post offices do passports. However, I would not like to think that my private information that Centrelink has would be accessible to a post office employee at a touch of a button particularly by people who have trouble being understood by me. A lot of post offices are franchises, which also begs the question of the vetting of their character and if any past criminal offences.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    2:26pm
    Yes nightie, they do do passports even British ones but they are only a conduit for acceptance of the filled in forms, accepting the money and then passing it on. They don't hold or have any access to any information about the individual unlike that is required by Centrelink.
    nightie
    29th Oct 2013
    2:25pm
    would this mean that the Chinese government will have access to Centrelink's data base?
    Increasingly franchises are run by Chinese people with very little English. I do not want my details accessed and I do not want other people to hear my business.
    jeneregretrien
    29th Oct 2013
    3:08pm
    A naïve way to look at it. We are already under surveillance by many Government and Public agencies, so I wouldn't worry too much about the "Chinese" as you put it.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    3:12pm
    Ahh! well, might as well make it easier for them.
    jeneregretrien
    29th Oct 2013
    2:37pm
    The proposal has merit as it will streamline many functions and make access to a local "centrelink office" more accessible. Self help booths will probably be made available so the traditional services of Australia Post will not be interrupted too much. Also many Government employees can be transferred to these "one stop" shops to give a better overall service to the public. Let's wait and see the results of the Audit first.
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    2:47pm
    BIG raspberries to the genius who (was paid to think) thought of this gem. I don't care what the Chinese know about me but I do not want my community to know my personal details .... and you can bet your life they will!!
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    3:00pm
    How the heck this will streamline functions holy knows. Services are not streamlined now simply because of the reduction in service. What will self help booths do, people have their own when they go online and they are not too helpful at times. Just moving this to booths will not change the situation except having to create them at a cost.

    What we are forgetting here is the service that Centrelink provides is highly personal and interactive and is not one that can be simply put on a conveyor belt which people like the liberals think can be applied to everything.

    Do we really think that the audit will bring up anything but what the current Government wants to implement anyway. All they want is to be able to say that the Audit brought it up.
    student
    29th Oct 2013
    3:16pm
    Senator Cameron is a sweetheart. I love his accent and his philosophies.
    Ny19
    31st Oct 2013
    12:43pm
    Me too.
    Mamacrystal
    29th Oct 2013
    3:37pm
    Ofcourse this is likely to go ahead..... how many current pollies (of any variety) will be lining up for Centrelink pensions when it's time to retire..... so they wont care.
    Janie
    29th Oct 2013
    3:40pm
    Having worked for 18 years for Australia Post there are not many things you can't do there now, Passports, Working with Children applications and 100 point checks for numerous banks, so I don't see any problem dealing with Centrelink services. You always need to make an appointment for these services as they take time, so what is the problem. When you go to a Centrelink office you are assessed alongside other people, most of your confidential information is taken away and photo copied, if you have nothing to hide there isn't a problem.
    Kaye Fallick
    29th Oct 2013
    3:44pm
    Hi Janie,
    I guess the question is, given that my local Aust Post has queues of 9 or 10 people most times i call in, how will the existing staff - and buildings - cope with thousands of extra customers? And many people on disability pensions have health conditions which require both accessibility and extra time, as well as sensitivity. It's not as simple as getting a passport or buying a stamp?
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    3:51pm
    I think you are simplifying the work of Centrelink. Most of the things you mention are simple tasks that can be asked from a simple checklist. This is not the case with centrelink tasks.

    Here you are;

    Goto: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check

    and make up your own checklist. no qualifications required.
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    10:58am
    I had hells-bells trouble when I wanted to stay on the Disabilities Support pension and not go onto the Aged Pension. (my reasoning being I was disabled long before I was old!) Am I wrong in thinking CentreLink also looks after single mothers and child maintenance payments?? From what I have heard, the 'trained' staff at CentrLink have trouble meeting requests for help and advice from the most vulnerable in society. I honestly think this is about saving money at the expense of those that need help the most.

    Let me hear Senator Cameron's views again .. I just love his accent!!

    29th Oct 2013
    3:50pm
    I am on the run today so don't have time to read and respond to all the comments, for which I apologise.

    I also admit that I personally have not had to have anything to do with Centrelink, so am not really qualified to express a considered opinion. Although my sister does and also other extended members of my family, so I do hear about their experiences.

    Aloysius's statement above is correct…..most (if not all) post offices are privately owned franchises (they operate under a strict licence, I believe).

    However, Centrelink is also a private concern that does NOT pay taxes on the money they receive, so if shifted to the POs, at least there will be millions more available in taxed money. So that is a good thing!

    Not sure about POs becoming Centrelink BUT given that POs are everywhere, smaller and more personal, it may at least make people believe they are human beings and not just an annoying number, that has to be dealt with.

    In regard to the POs staff maybe knowing you, that is a problem BUT because they know you, they will treat you better and not be so indifferent and take your problems on in order to resolve them, rather than shovelling them sidewards.

    Again, I am NOT qualified to really express an opinion BUT I can see some positives in this move, especially being able to gain taxes from the moneys paid to PO and a more personal approach to 'clients' needs.

    How good the proposal is, depends entirely upon the fine details and those have not been given to us BUT on the surface, I think a lot of the concerns could be addressed and a better service provided.

    Centrelink has warts on it and I don't care about what party is in, as long as they are doing things FOR Australia and its people and NOT large (mostly foreign) corporations. Hence, I was quite interested in the POs thing, as a positive proposal by the current govt…. as long as it is well thought out with stringent requirements (including the ability to attend any POs rather than merely your local one - there is always the problem of personality clashes (etc) that need to be seriously considered) BEFORE implementation.
    Kopernicus
    29th Oct 2013
    4:01pm
    I think your admission that you have not used the service says it all. These people are professionals and know their stuff - exactly what is needed by their customers, who are people in need, often dire need.
    Why not lease this function to local bakeries or supermarkets? McDonald's perhaps?
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    4:01pm
    Mussitate, I am a bit puzzled here. You say Centrelink is a private concern. I was unaware of this. If it is how come the government is suggesting that it's services be moved to to PO outlets. The PO is a government comcern albeit it franchises its PO outlets. Please explain.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2013
    4:27pm
    Wstation….
    Centrelink is 'like' a government department BUT is managed by a religious organisation. It is paid to employ, train and provide services to the people - run the service, as if it was the government.

    It is a quasi-govt organisation. What they do is provide government services under strict government guidelines BUT are a private (religious) organisation.

    Re: PO ownership… read my comment below… if the overriding franchise BODY is sold then it would be absolutely disgusting and a sell out of Australia and one of its KEY NATIONAL components, to large corporations. Inevitably it would end up in FOREIGN hands.

    Kopernicus
    Agree totally with your response to me here + have learned something from your response below ("thought bubble to abandon the most vulnerable in this society and leave them unsupported and floundering"). If this government flog off the controlling franchise BODY, this statement will be in no doubt.

    29th Oct 2013
    4:58pm
    Mussitate
    Centrelink is a goverment department although its job placement side is primarly handled by NGOs most of which are religious oranisations.

    It outsources somethings but it is a goverment department under the department for Human Services. Marise Payne is the minister. and is definately (mis)managed by the goverment.
    jeneregretrien
    29th Oct 2013
    8:49pm
    Inherently there are too many people receiving welfare benefits. Payments need to cut across the board. i.e. No child benefit, no pension supplement, Newstart stopped after 1 year, carers allowances reviewed. An audit on the current Centrelink services and benefits needs to be implemented.
    Chookman
    29th Oct 2013
    9:18pm
    Mussitate - I suggest you actually research before you comment. Centrelink is a government agency formed in 1997 by amalgamating the services and staff from CES and DSS. It contracts to government departments to deliver their services under the legislation covering those services. The complexity of qualifications and eligibility requires high level knowledge and education as staff are required to understand, interpret and apply legislation - often with powers of discretion. The requirements on staff are extremely high and require great interpersonal skills in dealing with people often in dire life situations. The belief that it is a simple lodge a form and it will be right is at best simplistic and insulting.
    Kopernicus
    29th Oct 2013
    3:55pm
    Wow, this even surprised me. I have just got the aged part pension 3 months ago. I had several interviews at Centerlink which were very helpful, the staff respectful and knowledgeable and assisted be effectively. How could the post office help me?
    This is a thought bubble to abandon the most vulnerable in this society and leave them unsupported and floundering.
    chertl
    29th Oct 2013
    4:03pm
    This is not a very well thought out option. They are going to sack the centrelink people to save money, then they will have to fork out for training for the post office people who will have to deal with the centrelink people. Bit of a joke isn't it. We have enough trouble getting through to the pension mob now how will be when this is privatized. All that does is make everything more expensive.

    29th Oct 2013
    4:05pm
    PS…

    Re: Post Office ownership… I believe the Franchise is controlled by the government, even though the POs themselves are privately owned (under licence).

    IF the Post Office FRANCHISE was SOLD to private concerns THAT would BE DISASTROUS and DISGUSTING and would mean indifference, total lack of care/concern, and real ABUSE ….. it would be a privately owned MONOPOLY of a KEY NATIONAL concern which could easily end up in FOREIGN hands - the NSA wouldn't have to SPY, they would have it all in their hands. Mind you Gillard made an IDIOTIC statement that she was okay with her PM phone being tapped by the NSA because they would have only heard 'nice' things…. what a bloody foolish, stupid thing to say… unbelievable.

    They would have so much power to do whatever they want ….. prices would shoot up AND Centrelink services would plummet with fraud and all sorts of things occurring. They would be too powerful to do anything about….worse than our banks.

    HELL, IF the Libs/Abbott were to do that, it would be a BLOODY @#!**&^%$#@! CRIME against the Australian people AND Australia.

    PRIMARY SELLOUT of OUR country to FOREIGN and/or LARGE CORPORATIONS.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    4:14pm
    Surely the franchise is not only owned by the government but they have to own the delivery infrastructure as well. I don't think the franchisees employ all those little bikies who deliver the mail to us or the transportation system that sends it interstate or all the sorting offices..
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2013
    4:35pm
    Wstaton
    The running of the individual post offices and local deliveries from the POs, I believe are with the franchisee BUT the mail distribution centres and collection from the post boxes are the overriding body (the government). That is my understanding only, I have not researched the subject as I normally try to.
    dippity
    29th Oct 2013
    6:06pm
    with regard to ownership of post offices. I worked for many years in a grade 4 post office; grade 5 is the largest. These post offices are run as a corporation, answerable to the government. Smaller post offices, grade 3 and lower have gradually been franchised as LPOs or licenced post offices. These you will find often, inside other businesses, such as small grocery concerns. They are privately run, but answerable to the corporation regarding rules and regulations.

    My feeling here is that the government would not be able to force LPOs to take up centrelink work as they are privately owned. So grade 4/5 post offices will take the centrelink work on. These offices are not in your small towns. These are the busiest post offices, often with lines out the door during busy parts of the day. It is also noteworthy that, while centrelink has been cutting staff and getting more swamped and less efficient, Australia Post has also shed a considerable number of staff over a number of years. Two overworked government bodies in one overworked office will be disastrous.

    Furthermore, will Medicare be moved with Centrelink, where they are now, to the post office. Imagine the crowding around the counter then!!!

    Hopefully good sense will prevail and those with expertise in their own area will be kept on doing the jobs they know inside out. Sloppy Joe needs to pull his head in.
    tia-maria
    29th Oct 2013
    6:37pm
    Hi dippity, Sloppy Joe needs definately to pull his head in. cheers
    rbprbp
    29th Oct 2013
    4:22pm
    It is frightening to think that our politicians are so naïve as to even countenance a suggestion such as this. It only serves to show their ignorance of what their departments actually do and of what the real world is all about. Apparently they think that handling Centrelink enquiries is something that any Joe Blow could do at the drop of a hat.
    The legislation governing the many Centrelink functions is complex and confusing to the layman. It requires knowledge, experience and training to be able to deal with the enquiries that come the way of Centrelink frontline staff. It is also the sort of work that is best handled by certain personality types. They need patience, good humour and a thick skin.
    The politicians of all colours are equally bad. A lot of them started as political groupies at university and clawed their way up through party ranks to get where they are today. They show their ignorance of real life with dumb proposals like this one.
    To those commenters here who think that there might be some merit in the idea I say please have a rethink and perhaps do a little research. Imagine that you have to make a financial decision that might affect your entitlements and need to ask the advice of someone who has Centrelink knowledge. Can you really see yourself queuing up at an Australia Post office to discuss your affairs. Try looking up the Centrelink website and see if you understand the qualifications for an Age pension and how they are assessed. I don't think you'll find it easy but that is the sort of stuff that a Centrelink counter officer has to know backwards.
    It is a totally unworkable idea. Hopefully the politicians will get some sensible advice and dump it.
    lasaboy
    29th Oct 2013
    4:36pm
    What was Centrelink is now Human Resources and they cannot get it right now how it hell would the post office do it
    surfer
    29th Oct 2013
    6:00pm
    Perhaps we need to go back to pony express. The mail must get through, indians or no indians. Human resources, well that sounds important. Think it should be humane resources, feeling sorry for all battlers.
    Henry
    29th Oct 2013
    4:42pm
    Where I live the local PO is own by an Indian person. I have enormous problems understanding his English. Is he going to be given classes regarding all these very complex issues Centrelink faces on a daily basis, pass a test and then start?: It would take years!
    surfer
    29th Oct 2013
    6:02pm
    Don't forget Australian sign language. Works wonders.
    Foxy
    30th Oct 2013
    5:26pm
    yeah - Aussie sign language and guess what - middle finger for you Furfer Boy - and stop replying to my posts you absoloute moron! Dipstick!

    29th Oct 2013
    4:42pm
    Many years ago in England people used to do all this stuff thru the post office pensions, national insurance ,tax, tv licences, paying rent(public and private), banking etc. In fact in the smaller towns and villages the local post office was the only place you could deal with the goverment.

    I believe they have now given that up and gone for centerlised offices like here, more cost effective etc

    Also there was a problem of the less honest waiting out side the post office to rob people who just collected their pension. (Back then people got their pensions in cash.)

    There was also the problem of power crazed postpersons who people were scared to get on the wronge side of. they controlled the mail,the money everything for some people particully in a small village where they could also be the only local shop.

    With the post office handling so much for so many will you have to make an appiontment 6 weeks in advance to buy stamps. You already have to queue for hours at some.


    I have been expecting the goverment to sell the postoffice retail operations to one of the supermarkets or possibly licence it to more than one. If they move centerlink to the postoffice. then Sell the postoffice to one of the supermarkets will we get deals like get half your pension as groceries this week and get an extra 10c off a liter of petrol.

    The whole thing sounds mad to me so I expect they will do it.

    May be it will work for routine stuff subitting forms etc but not for all of it. But if they start paying the pension in cash thru the post office and allowed me to pay all my bills there I could close my bank account and keep my money in a jar buried in the back yard under the chickens. Now that would be a step forward;-)
    Foxy
    29th Oct 2013
    5:39pm
    ....doubt it will ever happen - Government has signed off on a new Centrelink logo for all it's offices - correspondence etc. It is a "Rainbow Star" - and cost $4.5 million dollars !!! Saw it on Lateline this week - my instant thought was "why why" did they need to change their logo ???? $4.5 million would have gone a longgggggggggg way into boosting pensions for people who cannot make ends meet! Shocking waste again of taxpayer dollars !
    surfer
    29th Oct 2013
    6:04pm
    Now FOXY you behave yourself, and I am not available, sorry.
    jeneregretrien
    29th Oct 2013
    9:03pm
    Well Foxy, as the saying goes " Money makes the World go around" People can make ends meet by not burning the candles from both ends.
    Foxy
    31st Oct 2013
    5:05pm
    ....hahhaaaa - in your wildest dreams Surfer boy! Like who who in heaven's name would ever be interested in a racist old homophobe like you??? You have to be on drugs or something????? lol....forget the magic mushrooms mate - must be magic banana's/pineapples up your way ?! - lol lol
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    11:25am
    hmmmmm, seems I missed something! Love is in the air maybe ?? :) I wish you both the very best for a happy future together surfer and Foxy :) I can feel the love :)

    I might start a TAB (next door to CentreLink!!!) and have a book on the chances/length of time this happy union will last :) :) Thanks guys for making me smile :)
    older&wiser
    29th Oct 2013
    6:50pm
    I absolutely DREAD going to my local post office - is designated parking for Aust Post customers of 10 minutes. You are lucky if you can get in/out in 20 minutes. Queue is always out the door, and though there are 8 counters, have never ever seen more than 3 being used at once. I used to have a post office box at the post office but every time I needed to collect a parcel or something large, I had to wait in the queue. Was absolutely ridiculous the amount of time I wasted. And to even suggest that Post Offices take on Centrelink tasks - what a totally stupid notion. What about privacy? At Aust Post there main aim is to serve you as quickly as possible to get on to the next customer. Besides, most of the staff at my post office are casuals or temps. I don't want to be constantly explaining my situation to different people over and over. And I suppose some Public Servant will get a bonus for this suggestion! Get more people on the phones NOW and leave things as it is.
    scratch
    29th Oct 2013
    7:17pm
    Considering one already has to wait more than 9 weeks for anything to be processed through existing channels the population may expire before we hear from Centrelink again. Place an order overseas and one already gets it faster.
    Micky
    29th Oct 2013
    8:03pm
    Leave the Post Office and Centrelink as it is. When you vote a Liberal/National Government in, all they want to do is sell off everything and line their own pockets.(All politicians do that). It is unfortunate that the needy will suffer if the changes go ahead, I just hope the Commission of Audit do the right thing and leave as they are and let Big Ears, Noddy and Shrek (Abbott, Bishop and Hocking) try and sell something else.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2013
    8:09pm
    Unfortunately the Libs have loaded the Commission of Audit with their cronies.
    Micky
    29th Oct 2013
    8:11pm
    True Wstation
    Chookman
    29th Oct 2013
    9:07pm
    As a former employee - over 20 years in DSS and Centrelink it is a sad day that the quality of service and staff with whom I have worked is regarded as disposable. This is an absolute insult to every person that accesses the payments provided by Centrelink. The previous government did a lot to destroy the staffing levels and service delivery - but this is disgusting. The level of knowledge required to administer the complexity of the various payments is not something that a computer program can handle because of the high number of discretionary decisions that need to take place.
    Kopernicus
    30th Oct 2013
    6:34am
    As a recent consumer of Centerlink services, I fully agree with you. What seemed dead simple, actually wasn't and I was really grateful for their effective assistance. Also they assisted me and many others in online stuff. I am quite computer literate but found this really helpful as well. Without their assistance I would probably have received my pension some months later. I was afforded 2-3 hours for this assistance.
    I agree this does seem an insult. They were very au fait with all the multitude of complexities and acted with professionalism and courtesy.
    JJ
    29th Oct 2013
    10:32pm
    This is a ridiculous idea. I can't believe the government is seriously considering it - just imagine what the delays and confusion would be like!
    violet
    30th Oct 2013
    12:18am
    Ludicrous idea. Sounds like something out of Yes Minister.
    Bobeye
    30th Oct 2013
    7:51am
    Living as I do in a small country town the Post Office is part of the Newsagency. I would not be happy at the prospect of sharing all my private business in either venue as there is no private place to talk.
    While I know and trust the people that operate the businesses there are matters that I would not like to share with them, including how much I have in the bank or how healthy I am if Medicare is included.
    Not happy with the way the LNP is going in the first 100 days, let alone what will happen over the next 3 years.
    Wstaton
    30th Oct 2013
    8:02am
    I think there are a few people starting to worry about the direction the LNP are going and I suspect maybe are having second thoughts about their voting preferences.
    Curious61
    30th Oct 2013
    8:47am
    The Government has slashed the Public Service to the bone. The Post Offices are Franchises only now. They Dont have enough staff to cover these extra services. You cant get Blood out of a stone
    Henry
    30th Oct 2013
    9:29am
    A few minutes ago I reply to some comments dear Carmel placed on Facebook.
    This is what I said:
    I sincerely don't know how it's going to be done successfully. Example No 1: Take my local PO: it's own by an Indian man with a very strong accent, he has 2 employees; Example No 2: let's take a busy Centrelink office - Blacktown. They would employ at least 60 people and doesn't matter at what time you go there, there are queues from dawn to dusk. Now, let's put both examples together: is this Indian man going to take over the large office Centrelink has in Blacktown or extend his own premises to accommodate at least another 40 people? Secondly: is he going to be given extensive training on all of those complex issues Centrelink has to deal with on a daily basis? how long for this course? how long before this man is in a position to positively add his knowledge to Centrelink? And then is the matter of experience: he will only be able to be an effective officer in about 4 years after his training has been completed - by this time the Coalition will be out of office and the opposition will inherit a huge headache. It is with regrets that I have to say I don't believe Mr Hockey has a clue as what he is doing - never has - never will. These are my personal thoughts, our Party may agree or disagree - I don't know.
    Tom Tank
    30th Oct 2013
    9:55am
    This is a classic move by politicians, probably instigated by some fat cat bureaucrat, who knows nothing about how Centrelink functions at the coal face. My dealings with Centrelink have always been conducted in a most efficient, and friendly, manner, once the phone call finally reaches a human being.
    There is no way the Post Office could handle this sort of work unless Centrelink is transferred in total, staff, office space etc, to the Post Office.
    Since the Post Office is in line for privatisation this would mean our dealings on such private and sensitive matters would be dealt with by a private company.
    If Hockey thinks this will save money he has rocks in his head, albeit idealogical ones. Privatisation has shown to be NOT in the public interest and we are all paying dearly for this half baked approach to Government.
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    11:36am
    Hey Tom,
    ...probably instigated by some fat cat bureaucrat, who knows nothing about how Centrelink functions at the coal face. ...

    I agree with you. I doubt there would be one serving politician who could answer an everyday question from a CentreLink user.

    When politicians say a change is going to benefit the public, you can bet your life it is going to cut costs and services. The Government has certain responsibilities to its people, and selling off our assets and services is not one.
    Valerieaj
    30th Oct 2013
    10:25am
    I thought that POST OFFICE was obsolete and replaced by POST SHOP - for obvious reasons, in my opinion.
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    11:38am
    oh gosh Val, I have just realised.... I go to my local newsagent to buy stamps and to my local PO to buy cards!! No wonder the PO is more like a retail shop!
    Mitch
    30th Oct 2013
    12:07pm
    Its no wonder our country is going to the dogs. What lunacy, Maybe the government should become more like private enterprise are doing, or invest in some more efficient training. If they stopped outsourcing to the already over worked and understaffed Australia Post staff.
    If the private sector ran their business like the government run the country then there would be no business in Australia. So many times I have had to deal with centrelink and dare I say Disability Services Queensland through my position as a carer, only to wait for hours (i do not exaggerate), just to be put through to another person who is also unable to assist. How many times have people been told " I don't know. I';; put you through to someone who might be able to help'. Yeh! how frustrating. In my position, we have three rings to answer the call, and if we do not know an answer, we take the number and call back within 5-10 minutes after finding out the answer, the caller only deals with the one person and is grateful for the quick and efficient response.

    The government think that they are above everyone else, but no, they actually have a very important responsibility to all of it's people (especially the disabled and elderly) and to dare consider off loading the NDIS is completely irresponsible and they have already lost any vote from me for the next election. They made so many promises to do better than the previous party but within only a few months they are already making plans to totally disregard the most needy in our population. Maybe Australia needs a board of directors instead of a government.
    toot2000
    30th Oct 2013
    12:34pm
    I wasn't surprise to hear that the Swedish company Electrolux in Orange are closing down. Any company who didn't go off shore and get people to do the same work for $2.50 an hour would be mad. We've priced ourselves out of the labour market and I fear that when all the companies have gone to Asia, where will the jobs be for us in the future? Turning Post Offices into Centrelink offices could work as most people now pay their bills online but long queues to post a package is still frustrating.
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    11:55am
    well I say let them go. I am sick of Companies using the excuse of high labour costs for sending work off shore. Companies like Holden keep threatening to leave and put umpteen people out of work ... so the Government gives them a handout /tax break and the Company returns a massive profit the next year. Hello hello hello... I see the parent Co (O/sea) just made a profit of the same amount 'donated' by the Government!! All these payments/tax breaks are to ensure workers jobs. It takes more than wages to break a company. What about bad management, the high $, low wages so the worker can not afford to buy the product he makes??

    Greed is alive and well, and the worker believes it's his fault jobs are going off-shore.

    So, I disagree with your statement

    "... We've priced ourselves out of the labour market ..."

    Where will the jobs be in the future?? Toot, I honestly don't know but no matter who produces stuff, if we, Australians, don't have jobs then no one can buy anything produced o/s. It is a fine line the Government walks.
    Beemee
    30th Oct 2013
    12:36pm
    I can see this as being "that's another fine mess you got us into Ollie!"

    It is going to cause so much grief to those behind and in front of the counter.
    It's a darn mess now, and this will only make it worse.
    pussycat
    30th Oct 2013
    12:50pm
    I live in a country region about 1 hour's drive from the nearest Centrelink so many people use the local Centrelink corner in the Community Centre. This gives access to Centrelink only by phone or Online in a small open booth in the corner of the room. I have witnessed several times drug affected Centrelink clients who have become so frustrated by lengthy delays on the phone, waiting to use the phone or computer provided, and lack of privacy, that they have physically thrown equipment across the room and posed an actual danger to staff and other community members present at the time. Is this a situation we want to see in our Post Offices which in small rural areas are owned and run by local people untrained in Centrelink matters and who in any case are not expected to help people face to face. It is likely that a booth in the corner of the PO is what will be provided as access to Centrelink as Government departments move towards online access only. Already at the Medicare section in Centrelink offices cash is no longer claimable and claims must be deposited back into your bank account so all you are doing is handing in your claim to be processed in the back office.
    Gala
    30th Oct 2013
    1:01pm
    This is madness. Are they going to train up all the PO workers to deal with often complex issues of people that seek help? And do all that while the net person in the queue is waiting to buy a couple of stamps? And I presume that the interview will be conducted so that the whole post office will be able to participate in this,and make a few comments themselves?
    etnorb
    30th Oct 2013
    4:11pm
    This stupid Federal Government keeps getting worse! Now "they" are going to make Post Offices the CenterLink Offices as well? Talk about penny pinching & total stupidity! PO staff have enough work on their hands now, they have no more room for any "expansion" for any new services, plus, they are not trained to perform the tasks undertaken at CenterLink offices!
    If anything, CenterLink Offices should have more staff, both at "front of house" & especially, in their call centers. Bloody lunacy, that's all I can say! But of course this stupid Federal Government will not listen to our protests, look what is happening with the Labor NBN plans, totally changed for the worst, as an instance!
    PO staff already have much more to do than just process letters & accounts etc, they certainly would not be able to handle the often sensitive meetings with disgruntled persons like CenterLink staff who are trained to, can.
    We certainly do not need "our" CenterLink Offices to be privatised, or "farmed out" to Post Offices or elsewhere.
    Anonymous
    30th Oct 2013
    5:23pm
    Somebody is surely having a lend of us. Our local Centrelink office is around 600 metres squared & employs over 50 people. We have 1 Post Office, about 100 x M2, employing about 7 staff & 3 agencies each about the size of my bedroom employing 2 staff each. Most days they have a line of 10 or more people waiting to buy a stamp. I can just imagine a 65 year old explaining, in front of her neighbours, that she wants the separated pension because her husband sleeps in the next room, but it doesn't matter because he hasn't been able to get it up for a couple of years anyway!!!
    Foxy
    30th Oct 2013
    5:29pm
    ....couple of years???? Dreamworld! lol lol lol :-)
    Mamacrystal
    31st Oct 2013
    12:59pm
    Was Mussitate getting confused between Centrelink and Centrecare?
    Ny19
    31st Oct 2013
    1:37pm
    Hey, I think that is very likely.
    Anonymous
    1st Nov 2013
    12:23pm
    yep - alzheimers doesnt help
    Ny19
    31st Oct 2013
    1:23pm
    It angers me that Abbott said he would do nothing to clean up politicians (the worst being him) rorting tax payer funds yet he and his fellow loonies can consider instigating this crazy scheme.
    Ny19
    31st Oct 2013
    1:32pm
    Oops, pressed submit accidentally.
    Virtually every commenter is against it so if they go ahead let's all protest big time people. Petitions, marches etc - show them that we won't put up with it. I bet they would back down quickly because they are actually scared of us. Their attempts to hoodwink us and be secretive about the boats and the NBN indicates they are frightened of public response.
    Monty
    31st Oct 2013
    7:59pm
    I once had the "pleasure" of inadvertently overhearing Joe Hockey and some of his staffers while at a market on the North Shore. Their publicity tent was set up next to mine. Don't worry, given half a chance, Hockey will proceed with his madcap plan. The only way this will be stopped is to bombard his office with letters of complaint. His office, your local MP's office and everyone, right up to the prime minister. And keep it up!! As has been said, maintain the rage or everyone of us who has worked, paid our taxes and now have to rely on a pension will suffer.
    MiningMagnet
    31st Oct 2013
    9:55pm
    Sounds like a sales line to me...
    Make some ridiculous statement (part of Joe's skill set) and then when they offer to 'privatise' the centre-link service (as they hoped to do all the time) it won't seem as stupid as the Post Office idea
    Every privatised industry has ended up costing the taxpayer more to use - Joe and his mates have to provide payback to the people who invested in getting the Libs back in so privatisation is big on their radar.
    They do not care about the quality of life or effectiveness of service delivery to the Australian people.
    They care about their own self-seeking agenda - that's why we can so easily identify them as politicians
    It is the price we pay for not doing the job properly ourselves.
    professori_au
    1st Nov 2013
    10:09am
    It is typical Liberal policy. to attack the most vulnerable in our society. Handing over control and administration of Human services i.e. Centrelink. What are the qualifications of all of these post offices to assess the needs of those seeking help. Australia is being sold out from within by people elected to carry out the Will of the people. Remember the people are the government and the parliament is its servant. Something that our politicians seem to forget or lack the capacity to understand, possibly because they owe their allegiance to foreign interests. Their actions are covered by the crimes of sedition, treason and treachery. Wake up Australia and demand a return to lawful government and not admiralty ruled corporations posing as government
    Henry
    1st Nov 2013
    3:11pm
    I placed the comment below on another topic regarding same subject, so I am duplicating it here - this one seems more popular than the other one.

    I have just sent a note to Mr Hockey. I don't expect an answer from him, but I felt it was necessary to do so.

    It says:

    Good morning, Mr Hockey: First and foremost I would like to congratulate you on your election victory. You have been in politics for a while now and have managed to gain the respect of quite a few of us. This is why I was totally taken aback when you suggested to amalgamate Centrelink and Post Offices - is like baking a honey and chili cake! It appears to me this idea has not been given much thought, for instance (I will take Blacktown Centrelink and my local PO in Pendle Hill as an example): 1.- Will B'town office be moved to Pendle Hill PO? They will need a hell of a bigger space to accommodate all or some of B'town employees? 2.- Will Pendle Hill PO be moved to B'town? This would be done at the detriment of those of us that live in that suburb (we would loose our PO). 3.- What training if any will the current owner of this PO get. Centrelink assists some with very complex issues, so is this Indian man be given a, let's say 3 years training and then a further 3 years on the job to really get the experience required? 4.- Is this man capable of absorbing all this knowledge, is he intelligent and young enough to start studying? 5.- Apart from an economical benefit to your government what else is there to brag about? I am sorry to disagree, but I have to: not the best idea you've ever had. I subscribe to an internet publication called Your Life Choices. Its aim is to give the over 50's population a platform from where we can vent our thoughts, therefore releasing some of our frustrations. I suggest you visit this publication and read what most of us thinks about this new idea of yours. Respectfully, Henry Latorre Leader The Seniors Party (in formation)

    He who doesn't try.....
    Henry
    1st Nov 2013
    3:14pm
    PS; I also placed in on Facebook - he will have to read it.
    Why don't you do the same?
    Boof
    2nd Nov 2013
    3:40pm
    Wot a Joke! This is another "freakin", media beatup. When are you people going to WAKE UP. The POLLS ARE OUT AGAIN, I NOTICED ON THE NEWS YESTERDAY. WACKO. We don't watch the news, after the headlines these days. Tape a good show and watch that. It will do your blood pressure a rest.
    student
    3rd Nov 2013
    12:18pm
    hey Boof, not only am I a news junkie, but I am also studying Politics!!! How crazy am I ??? I agree the media has too much power and that Politicians can be too stupid for their own good. oh dear, oh dear... here we go again. The election is over but same horse different jokey.
    lindy
    2nd Nov 2013
    4:33pm
    Of all the cockamamy ideas from Joe the man treasuerer that I have hesrd this takes the cake! Completely crazy. Have you had to buy a stamp lately? If they have Centrelink in Post offices people will die waiting for service. Looney land.
    unicorn
    3rd Nov 2013
    6:18pm
    Our P.O. services are in the local Supermarket/news-agency/come whatever else. Hardly the place for our centrelink although our centrelink is now in it's own office, in a hard to park side street, so I'm not too sure what is worse.
    unicorn
    3rd Nov 2013
    6:18pm
    Our P.O. services are in the local Supermarket/news-agency/come whatever else. Hardly the place for our centrelink although our centrelink is now in it's own office, in a hard to park side street, so I'm not too sure what is worse.
    austhome
    6th Nov 2013
    10:23pm
    You can't blame me for this latest liberal government idea. Now all you who voted liberal, just think about what you did, open slather on the public service assets. All those centrelink employees will end up going to the post office to apply for the dole. What a mess liberal voters are giving us.