Media Releases

Long wait on the phone for Centrelink calls

June 04, 2018

Older people, students and parents are waiting longer and longer on the phone to get through to Centrelink, and some cannot get through at all.

Senate Estimates last week showed Centrelink call times have blown out again, with an average wait of 31 minutes for students, 18 minutes for older Australians, and 16 minutes for families.

But these are only averages, and some people on the Central Coast have told me they are waiting hours on the phone, or not getting through at all.

The Turnbull Government cut 1,280 staff from the Department of Human Services in this year’s Budget, on top of 1,180 that were cut last year.

Centrelink is understaffed and under-resourced, and it is no wonder call wait times and busy signals skyrocketed.

These latest job cuts will make it more difficult for everyone to get the help they need.

Malcolm Turnbull has outsourced 1,250 jobs to labour hire, but Centrelink needs permanent full-time staff who are supported, familiar with and equipped to manage the complex issues they have to deal with.

The Turnbull Government is making it harder for Australians to get the help they need, and it is unacceptable. I urge everyone to tell him how hard it is.

Anyone who would like Malcolm Turnbull to know about their Centrelink experience can email me on and I will pass it on.