by Alan Thornhill
Seeking help through a call centre can be a frustrating experience.
Especially when it’s over a complex, but critical, matter, such as your pension rights, or other social security benefits.
Centrelink, which deals with such calls, now takes about 150,000 queries a day, or roughly 38 million a year.
The Human Services Minister, Kim Carr, says most of these calls are processed fairly quickly.
That is, on average, within 12 minutes.
But with Australia’s population ageing, and new trends appearing, the service is coming under increased pressure.
Many pensioners, for example, now, are working part time .
And, of course, their earnings affect their pension payments.
So the questions they are asking, when they call Centrelink can be quite complicated.
Senator Carr says technical facilities are being upgraded, and more people are being employed, to cope with the increased demands, now being made on Centrelink services.
To deal with peak time this year Centrelink, he said, Centrelink had put on an additional 720 positions since March.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Friday May 24
The Dow Jones Index fell 12.44 points to 15,294.70
Ford Australia says it will close its Australian manufacturing plants in October 2016. Some 1,200 jobs to go.
Hazel Hawke dies at 83
A British soldier is hacked to death in the London suburb of Woolwich, in an apparent terrorist attack
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