People across the many communities in the electorate of Barker are among the more than 600,000 Australians who tried calling Centrelink in the first quarter of 2024.

New Services Australia telephony figures tabled at recent Senate Estimates also reveal that call wait times across a range of categories have continued to worsen.

Shadow Minister for Government Services Paul Fletcher said the figures are disgraceful and demonstrate that Labor has no idea how to fix this mess.

“Call wait times continue to skyrocket during the cost-of-living crisis and struggling families are paying the price,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Government Services Minister Bill Shorten is hopeless and these figures expose his failures. Australians deserve a Minister committed to improving the customer experience.

“I repeat my calls for there to be a root and branch of Services Australia’s operations toimprove this crucial agency’s performance.”

Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP said these recent figures are confirmation that the incompetent Albanese Labor Government is not focused on supporting local families who are burdened with the cost-of-living pressures.

“There are daily complaints to my electorate offices regarding delays in application assessments and reviews, particularly Aged Pension and Disability Support Pensions’, Tony Pasin said.

“It’s beggars’ belief that families from Renmark to Mt Gambier who are struggling, are kept waiting longer and longer to just to speak to a person at Centrelink to seek advice,” Tony Pasin said.

“Yet while the community is suffering, it has recently been revealed that Bill Shorten has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire an extra, very expensive speechwriter to try and spin his way out of this mess.

“I’ll continue to call out these bad decisions and wrong priorities from Labor on behalf of our community and I encourage anyone who is having trouble getting government payments and services to contact my office.”

It was also revealed that from 1 January 2024 to 1 May 2024, 1,158,196 Australians hung up with Services Australia before they were able to speak to a human being.

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