Shorter wait times promised as Centrelink hires extra staff

Monday, 23rd April, 2018

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said the extra operators will "help ease the burden" on busy Centrelink phone lines. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

CENTRELINK customers are being promised shorter wait times, with an extra 1000 call centre staff to be hired to answer calls from welfare recipients.

Human Services minister Michael Keenan said the extra private contractors will "help ease the burden on busy phone lines", particularly during peak periods when people find it difficult to get through on the phone.

The new staff will be based in Australia and hired by private companies for three years.

"Our investment in these 1000 operators will greatly enhance our ability to answer more calls and ensure that the service we deliver is in line with customer expectations," said Mr Keenan.

The move follows a trail which started last year in which the government hired multinational company Serco to provide 250 Centrelink call centre workers.

Mr Keenan said in six months, the 250 Serco staff have answered more than 1.4 million calls - up to 14,500 a day.

"Those staff, along with other recent improvements to the way calls are managed, have helped to halve the number of busy signals customers experience," he said.

Mr Keenan added the no Centrelink employees will lose their jobs as a result of this new initiative.

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