'Cheaters, bludgers, leaners': O'Dowd's Centrelink vision

REIN IN: O'Dowd is calling on Centrelink to tighten up.
REIN IN: O'Dowd is calling on Centrelink to tighten up.

LNP MEMBER for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has told parliament that Centrelink should "rein in" the "rorting and the waste" that was embedded during Labor's years of Government.

Mr O'Dowd said one way of making the welfare provider more efficient is by using the benefits of the digital age.

He said for the 56 million phone calls and 21 million face to face visits the new technology would reduce the average waiting time from "11 days to virtually instant".

"(Centrelink) would become more accountable and more efficient to those vulnerable people who need our services, while rorting and the waste so often attributed to those on the other side will be reined in," he said.



The topic was brought up by the Australian Labor Party member for Barton, Linda Burney, who said the government's mismanagement of Centrelink was hurting Australians.

"Despite the way those opposite talk about it, Centrelink is not just the agency that deals with cheaters, bludgers and leaners," she said.

"It is agency responsible for looking after our welfare safety net."

She quoted a story very similar to one in The Observer, where Centrelink rejected James Stewart's pension after he suffered four heart attacks.

>>Centrelink rejects his pension after four heart attacks: claim

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Tom Huntley

"Yesterday the Prime Minister was questioned by the member for Bruce, who is in the House, about one constituent receiving the disability support pension who was asked to go through an onerous and expensive review process," Ms Burney said.

"That constituent's disability was so self-evidently debilitation that his specialist wrote to Centrelink managers noting that the review was a total waste of time, and the minister knows this because the minister intervened.

"It was traumatic for the constituent and for his family and, as the minister knows, it was totally unnecessary.

"This is not just a one-off story; it is the story of thousands. Do not look at the floor, those on the opposite side.

"You know these stories in each of your electorates."

She pointed out statistics from late last year showing that of 5000 people taken off the disability support pension only 70 were subsequently able to go back into the workforce.

Mr O'Dowd was one of the members to defend the Government's management of Centrelink.

"For too long, government services have not kept pace," he said.

"There is a $1.9 billion in fraud and overpayments. This is $1.9 billion that we will never receive back.

"Under Labor, waiting times went from three minutes out to 11 minutes; they ballooned out under your control."

Topics:  centrelink gladstone gladstone region

UPDATE: Plans for new servo, food store in Gladstone's CBD

SERVO PLAN: A company plans to build a massive service station in Gladstone CBD.

COMPANY plans to build service station, food and drink outlet in CBD

Investors eye new local estate with dirt cheap property

A new estate, Aquatic Vista, has opened at Agnes Water.

BUYERS to go crazy for an entire new estate put on the market.

55 Gladstone locals go bankrupt in horror three months

GLADSTONE locals are struggling to pay their debts.

Local Partners

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E12 - the finale

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Buy your own brothel: Scarlet Harem for sale

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Coast's first brothel, Scarlet Harem at Kunda Park, is up for sale.

Coast brothel madam sells up

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Investors eye new local estate with dirt cheap property

A new estate, Aquatic Vista, has opened at Agnes Water.

BUYERS to go crazy for an entire new estate put on the market.

OPINION: Banks fear Gladstone future: Councillor

REGIONAL Queensland deserves a helping hand on housing.

Bank reclaims Goondoon St complex plan, places on the market

Multi-million dollar development plan up for sale.

MULTI-MILLION dollar plan for Goondoon St complex on the market.

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Coles to pay new owner of Tannum servo $320K

UP FOR GRABS: Expressions of interest in Tannum's new service station, which will house the new Coles Express, closed this month.

INVESTORS bid for new Tannum service station under construction.

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'