Public backlash to ‘crap’ Centrelink plan

QUEENSLANDERS have emphatically shot down plans to outsource Centrelink call centres, saying the move poses a risk to privacy and is proof the government is unable to handle one of its most important departments.

But News Corp readers responding to the news made it clear they felt the move was doomed to fail and that the government should be doing more itself to address the ongoing issues with the much maligned service.

"This just proves the current government can't do its job, Facebook user Palela Rose said. "Human services is the government's responsibility, if you can't run arguably one of the most important departments you don't deserve to govern.

"This will be like most other privatising nurses sacked and rehired for the same job. Clearly the government is failing at management."

Read the Centrelink outsourcing story: Hundreds of new Centrelink call centre jobs will be privatised. 

The Morrison Government today revealed plans to outsource 800 call centre jobs to Brisbane  Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
The Morrison Government today revealed plans to outsource 800 call centre jobs to Brisbane Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

While many readers missed the point of the story and took "outsourcing" to mean sending jobs offshore, another took exception with the suggestion problems would be fixed by passing them on to a third party provider, albeit a local one.

"Outsourcing is not the answer to anything let alone Centrelink," Lois Saedder said. "People want answers and help when the phone. Get the staffing levels to what they should be and stop with the idiotic productivity guidelines that should never be imposed on government."

Then there was the question of privacy and security around personal information, with clear concern at the possibility of sensitive data being passed on to an external provider.

"Great, security of personal information is at stake now," one reader said, while another made their feelings even clearer, saying: "And leak all personal information, yeah, smart idea numb nuts!"

Federal Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan. Picture: Valeriu Campan
Federal Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan. Picture: Valeriu Campan

Readers also took exception to the fact a lot of Centrelink clients' issues with the service stem as much from the quality of the assistance they receive as much as the length of time they have to wait to get help.

"The staff on the phones now give out wrong advice half the time... how are call centre people going to know all the ins and outs of the crap centrelink legislation?" Sherryn Sunderland said.

The 800 Brisbane jobs will make up some of the 2500 roles to be filled nationwide, but readers questioned the standards workers in the private sector might be held up to.

Angela Mills told of her experience in training for a position with Centrelink and how difficult it was to make the role work around her family life.

"I went through the interview process - it's seven stages and six months by the time you get to the end," she said.

"Then they tell you it's 12 weeks of training in the CBD from 8am to 6pm... impossible to align with child care once you add in the commute.

"They also tell you in first stage that you will cop tonnes of verbal abuse :(

"In the end, as much as I wanted the job, its first four months are far from family friendly (single parent) and at the end of that, they cant guarantee hours - they also tell you that there's significant issues with the phone system itself."



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