Human services

### ### ### J ... this is not a human being. It's a number in a computer!

Human services (social security & welfare)/ Centrelink needs an inquiry into its operations and charter and at a minimum a complete over haul.  It is easily our largest expenditure ($154B) but is administered very poorly. It appears by name that is not achieving anything that it should. If anything it is not humane and does not provide a service. I hear nothing but negative comments from customers and staff… its computer system is a complete failure and there is a number of policy and communication problems on both sides. Their computer system is a shambles and their wait times on the phone are the worst in the country. Many staff do not know policy or rules and tell customers what they want to hear just to get them out of the office. Some staff can’t even find a file on their computer when its right in front of them. Again I am not trying to upset anyone, these are simply the facts and not by my version, I hear this from many customers attending Centrelink. Staff say, that the department is underfunded for communications using the computer/internet and phone, however this is the future of providing these services.

Pensions & family allowances should be raised by 10-12 % almost immediately… Those on the aged pension are generally finished their working life and have already contributed to the country. They need to be looked after. Family allowances or the lack there of are what stop many families from a 3rd or 4th child. That 3rd or 4th child is necessary to the growth in population of our Nation.  

Newstart should be administered only on the basis of some work for the dole program of either national service, state service or local government service with a mandatory 20 hours per week … no one under the age of 40 who has not worked in 6 months and has a history of dependence should be automatically placed on a work for the dole service. This would not apply for those in training or another activity that is suitable. Simply saying I don’t want to work or want to go surfing or some other silly excuse is no excuse and should be penalised correctly. I understand genuine need but this current system is being used and abused.

Those with disabilities and need seem to be those who get the least from the wealth of this country. I have seen and spoken with several people who have serious medical complications and are listed as medically disabled who have been instructed by Centrelink to return to work.

A number of people with mental health issues are in jail rather than being assisted correctly. How is this possible in a so called modern society. Young people with disabilities or suffering from stroke, heart attacks or lacking mobility are kept in aged care facilities… Again how is this possible in a supposedly modern and caring society? Yet we spend Billions of dollars housing refugees on Manus and Naru denying them any dignity, care or humane treatment. This is a two sided sword and must cease! Human services, no, human tragedy, yes.