Centrelink call centres to remain understaffed: Pensioners

"CPSA is calling on the Australian Government to employ a further 2,500 staff to its Centrelink call centres to answer the 44 million calls annually that simply ring out", said CPSA Policy Coordinator Paul Versteege.

"The announcement today of a further 1,500 Centrelink call centre staff and the announcement of 1,000 staff in April only solves half the problem. Unless the Government doubles the number of new Centrelink call centre staff to 5,000, 22 million callers annually will not be able to get through.

"Centrelink must do what every business in Australia must do unless it wants to go bankrupt: answer the phone."

55 million calls to Centrelink call centres went unanswered during 2016-2017, according to evidence in Senate Budget Estimates in 2017. Of these, Centrelink claimed 20 per cent of these were repeat calls made through apps. On Centrelink's stats, it let the phone ring out on 44 million callers.

The Minister for Human Services claims that 1,000 new staff announced in April 2018 "have helped reduce busy signals on Centrelink phone lines by almost 20 per cent." This means that 44 million unanswered calls annually were reduced to 35.2 million unanswered calls. It also means that the 1,500 additional staff just announced can be expected to reduce the number of unanswered calls by a further 13.2 million to 22 million unanswered calls.

Media contact: Paul Versteege, Policy Coordinator
Mobile: 0409 81 41 81