Centrelink automation leaves vulnerable behind

A recent report confirms what we already know, that Centrelink's push for automation and self-service is leaving people behind.

A new report by Anglicare finds that vulnerable people are missing out on expert assistance as they are pushed away from talking to Centrelink staff face to face.

Instead, they are expected to resolve their often complex issues by accessing Centrelink services on computers and automated phones.

The report finds that using Centrelink services impacts people's health and wellbeing. It can lead to anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and affect self-worth as people are portrayed negatively in the media and perceive they are treated without respect by Centrelink.

As a result of these difficulties, people may need support to access the system through social workers and community engagement workers, from relatives and from community-based support services.

Anglicare's social workers said they spend so long helping clients with Centrelink they had less time for other tasks. The Guardian Australia newspaper concludes from the report's findings that an equivalent of 343.2 full-time Anglicare employees across Australia are spending their time dealing with just Centrelink issues.

While automation and self-service might work for some of the population, there are many vulnerable people who might be old, young, have a disability or not have access to the internet, that are being left behind.