Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters has joined Shadow Minister for Human Services, Ed Husic MP to announce a Labor Government’s commitment to fund 40 full time Department of Human Services jobs in Bendigo.
These new jobs will include local service delivery and call centre roles and will reduce waiting and processing times for Medicare and Centrelink.
Centrelink is in crisis under the Morrison Government. It's under staffed and under resourced. The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has cut and outsourced over 2,700 staff from DHS and Centrelink.
These cuts have coincided with increased Centrelink phone wait times, and income support recipients being pushed to the edge of poverty waiting months for their payments.
Labor is focused on more jobs and services for the regions including Bendigo– we’re listening to the local community and making the investments needed to build a stronger local economy and create genuine job opportunities.
There are nearly 20,000 age pensioners in Bendigo, who have endured lengthy phone wait times to Centrelink as well as lengthy wait times for their pensions to be approved.
There are nearly 7000 disability support pension recipients and nearly 11,000 family tax benefit recipient – all who will benefit from the increased support as a result of these jobs.
“The Morrison Government has made cuts to the Department of Human Services and Centrelink that have left Bendigo residents waiting longer to receive support,” Mr Husic said.
“Medicare and Centrelink services help people when they need it most – medical rebates for the sick, processing aged care pensions, child care support, disability support pensions and carers’ allowance payments,” he said.
“The truth is Centrelink is in crisis under the Morrison Government. It is under-staffed and under-resourced.”
Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said today’s announcement is not only good for local jobs, but will help more residents get support when they need it.
“In 2013/14 the Liberals Centrelink job cuts hurt Bendigo. This announcement today will restore these cuts and go further.”
“Bendigo residents in need of assistance are experiencing unacceptable waiting times to have their Centrelink applications processed,” Chesters said.
“Many have being told it could take between six and nine months, which has resulted in distress and financial hardship.”
“It is not acceptable that thousands of people living in the Bendigo region, who rely on Centrelink payments to survive, are being forced to use an overstretched and under-funded service."