Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon has called on the Morrison Government to abandon its plans to close Newcastle and Mayfield Centrelink offices on the back chaotic scenes at Centrelink offices across the country.  

“It’s been heartbreaking to see so many anxious people queueing outside local Centrelink offices this week, worrying about paying their rent and what’s going to happen to their family, but it also demonstrates the critical importance of the social safety net and adequate face-to-face services.

“The Government must immediately dump its reckless plan to shut down Newcastle and Mayfield Centrelink offices and replace them with a single office in a yet-to-be-disclosed location.”

Ms Claydon said Government neglect contributed to the chaos at Centrelink offices this week.  

“This is a government that has spent six years attacking jobseekers and dismantling the social safety net. It’s no wonder they were woefully unprepared to step up to the task of helping all the people who lost their jobs in recent days.

“Any additional Centrelink staff are absolutely welcome, but it will take an enormous investment to remedy six years of Liberal attacks and savage cuts to Centrelink.”  

Ms Claydon said she’d been inundated with support from Novocastrians to protect Mayfield and King Street Centrelink offices  

“Ever since I launched the campaign to save our Centrelink offices at the end of last year, I’ve received thousands of emails, petition signatures and personal stories letting me know how damaging these closures would be.

“The government has demonstrated utter contempt for the tens of thousands of people that will be impacted including pensioners, jobseekers, families, people with disability and carers.”

“Mr Morrison needs to listen to the people of Newcastle and dump this terrible plan to shut down yet more precious public services.”

Ms Claydon said history demonstrated that once public services were axed, they rarely return.

“This plan will undoubtedly mean budget cuts, diminished services and reduced access for Novocastrians.

The idea of closing Centrelink offices as demand soars due to the impact of COVID-19 is both cruel and foolish. Mr Morrison must dump this reckless plan today.”

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle