Centrelink Faces Soaring Wait Times For Claims Since Labor’s Ascension

Centrelink has experienced a significant increase in processing times for claims, with 27 out of 32 payment types facing a sharp increase in processing time.

This development has raised concerns and created challenges for individuals relying on government assistance for their financial well-being.

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On Thursday, new documents showed that the majority of payment processing times have fallen below their “timeliness standard,” which is the target set by Services Australia and its partner agencies. 

Jobseeker payments are meant to have a “timeliness standard” of 16 days but saw an average processing time of 29 days in August, significantly higher than the previous years. 

Age pension claims were also facing delays, with an average processing time of 61 days in August, up from 33 days in the previous financial year.

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The parenting payment, expected to be processed in 21 days, saw an average of 45 days in August, while the additional childcare subsidy transition to work payment took an alarming 98 days to process. 

The general manager of Services Australia, Hank Jongen, said the department would work as quickly as possible.

“We apologise to anyone who is waiting longer than they should be, and we remind our customers to let us know if they are in hardship to help us prioritise claims from those most in need,” Jongen said.

“Our staffing has returned to more regular levels now that pandemic-era work, and associated extra staff, has concluded. We are doing our best to meet demands within this resourcing.”

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