Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has joined Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Linda Burney, in launching a community campaign and petition against the planned closure of Centrelink offices in Newcastle.
The plan to close the Mayfield and King Street Centrelink service centres and co-locate them in a yet-to-be determined location was revealed in a letter from the Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert to Ms Claydon.
Ms Burney said all Australians should be able to access our social safety net as they need it and when they need it.
“Over the past six years, we have seen cuts and attempted cuts to the pension”, Ms Burney said.
“And when they’re not busy cutting the pension, they’re making it so difficult for pensioners and others to access Centrelink in the hope they give up.”
Ms Claydon said the Government hadn’t undertaken any consultation with staff or community members before the tender was published in the paper.
“This plan will undoubtedly mean budget cuts, diminished services and reduced access for Novocastrians,” Ms Claydon said.
“The government has demonstrated profound disrespect for the tens of thousands of people that will be impacted including pensioners, jobseekers, families, people with disability and carers.
“I’m particularly concerned about elderly Centrelink customers and those with mobility challenges.”
Ms Claydon called on residents to join the community fight against the closure.
“There are four ways that Novocastrians take part in the community campaign:
- Sign the petition at www.sharonclaydon.com
- Share your story about how the closure will affect you or your family via email to Sharon.Claydon.MP@aph.gov.au
- Contact the Minister for Government Services, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, on
6277 7200 or Minister@humanservices.gov.au and demand he reverse this reckless plan
- Talk to your friends about the planned closures and the community campaign.”