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Centrelink busy signals now up to 55 million

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has risen yet again to 55 million from 42 million for financial year to April 30, up from 42 million when I asked last Estimates, Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“55 million busy signals. This is an astronomical number representing Australians trying to access supports, adjust their payments, seek information or update their earnings. That is a lot of frustrated people who may be exasperated and struggling.

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Greens welcome Government commitment to implement Committee inquiry recommendations on veteran suicide and mental health

I welcome the Government’s response to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee's inquiry into Suicide by Veterans, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The evidence we heard at the inquiry was harrowing and clearly showed that more needed to be done, we need to do much better for our veterans and ex-service personnel.

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Australian Government must do better on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Human Rights

The Government has got to listen to the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APO NT) and involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a transparent process of reform of the discriminatory Commonwealth Development Program.

"The Commonwealth Development Program is a discriminatory program that is financially penalising Aboriginal people more harshly than those on the other work for the dole program, that is not producing the results and causing disastrous outcomes for communities, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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We cannot sacrifice quality in a race to get people signed up to the NDIS

The Government needs to act immediately on the Productivity Commission findings including planning for a new timeline for the NDIS rollout, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Many people including the Greens have been raising the issues outlined in the Productivity Commission report for a long time now, and our concerns have been ignored for far too long.

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Senate supports Greens motion condemning engagement of Serco contractors to address Centrelink woes

The Senate has supported a Greens motion condemning the engagment of Serco and calling on the Government to commit to reinstating the nearly 1200 jobs cut from the Department of Human Services in the 2017-18 Budget.  

“There was deep concern in the community when the Government announced it had engaged a private contractor to staff a Centrelink call centre. Centrelink missed 42 million calls last year and employing Serco is not an answer to their woes, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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Australia’s credibility on world stage on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues lacking

Australia’s election to the Human Rights Council will shine a harsh light on our country’s treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Australia’s record when it comes to closing the gap and addressing injustices to our First Peoples shows that we are failing to deliver on our human rights responsibilities for Australia’s First People.

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A functional Centrelink is key to tackling poverty

This afternoon the Senate had the opportunity to speak on the Government’s response to the Centrelink robo-debt Inquiry which was tabled out of session last month.

“Given that it is Anti-Poverty week it was quite poignant that we were discussing the Government's appalling approach to some of the most vulnerable members of our community who were subject to the robo-debt debacle, Australian Greens spokesperson on Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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