“There was deep concern in the community when the Government announced it had engaged a private contractor to staff a Centrelink call centre. Centrelink missed 42 million calls last year and employing Serco is not an answer to their woes, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“There are just so many issues with Centrelink, to think that they can even start to address this issue with contractors from Serco is outrageous. Allowing a private contractor to run a critical Government service involving access to the personal information of Centrelink clients is deeply concerning particularly as they will be handling sensitive information.
“We saw what happened when the Government contracted out debt collectors, it was a disaster and the Government has all but ignored the recommendations the Senate committee made after the inquiry into the robo-debt debacle.
“The Government should act on the recommendations of the Senate Committee report into robo-debt as soon as possible."
The motion reads:
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move –
That the Senate –
(a) notes that the Turnbull Government cut nearly 1200 jobs from the Department of Human Services in the 2017-18 Budget;
(b) acknowledges that 42 million calls to Centrelink hit a busy signal between 1 July 2016 to 30 April 2017;
(c) notes that the Government is engaging private contractor Serco to supply 250 call centre workers to answer Centrelink calls from income support recipients;
(d) condemns allowing a private contractor to run a critical Government service involving access to the personal information of Centrelink clients; and
(e) calls on the Government to reinstate the jobs cut from the Department of Human Services and act on the recommendations of the Senate Committee report into robo-debt as soon as possible.