PLANS TO CLOSE NEWCASTLE CENTRELINK OFFICES
21 November 2019
The Morrison Government is planning to close both the King Street and Mayfield Centrelink offices, according to a bombshell letter sent by the Minister to the Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon.
Ms Claydon has received a letter from the Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, outlining the Government’s plans to end five public service tenancies, including the Mayfield and King Street Centrelink offices, and co-locate them into one CBD building.
Ms Claydon said that while she appreciated the Minister writing to give her notice of the significant changes, the proposal left her with a feeling of ‘deep unease’.
“I was very shocked to receive this letter from the Minister, informing me that the Government plans to tender later this month, with a view to moving into the new premises in 2022,” Ms Claydon said.
“I’m profoundly concerned that what the Government describes as ‘consolidation’ may be experienced by people in our community as a loss of services or access – especially as the plan includes the closure of a key suburban office in Mayfield.
“I’m also worried that this might mean for staff and have sought assurances from the Minister that there will be no forced redundancies.”
Ms Claydon said Centrelink was the number one issue her constituents contact her about, and any reduction in services would be detrimental.
“In recent years, Centrelink has been, without contest, the number one issue my constituents come to me for help with. By the time they reach out to me, they are often at their wits end after waiting fruitlessly on the phone for hours for someone to answer,” Ms Claydon said.
“Given this clear need for improvement, I am very concerned by any proposal that suggests a net reduction in physical offices for Newcastle.”
Ms Claydon said there were still many questions the Government needs to answer.
“I have written back to the Minister with a series of questions about the specifics of the Government’s proposal and the number of people who will be impacted,” Ms Claydon said.
“While I’d like to have heard about this more than a few weeks before it goes to tender, I have every intention of engaging with the Government in good faith to ensure that the path forward doesn’t detrimentally impact staff or customers.”