47, 950, 425 million calls to Centrelink have reached a busy signal in the last financial year with 5,313,954 being abandoned.
Youth and students are spending the longest average time waiting, currently waiting on hold for 32 and half minutes.
16 460,902 calls to the Families and Parenting line, 15,895,174 calls to the Employment Services line and 7,781,803 calls to the Youth and Students line reached a busy signal in the last financial year.
The first quarter this year saw 10,986,832 calls hit a busy signal with older Australians and Young people waiting the longest on hold.
“While it’s welcome that the department has started to focus on reducing unanswered calls, I’d hazard a guess that it’s because they keep getting called out for the millions of calls going unanswered, estimates after estimates, Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“There have been significant staff cuts and this year we have seen reports of students going an entire semester without their payment being processed and pensioners going months waiting for the claims to be processed.
“We need a stable, well trained workforce and the Government should commit to reinstating the nearly 1200 jobs cut from the Department of Human Services in the 2017-18 Budget.
“Older Australians, single parents, students and those looking for work should not have to be put through these significant hurdles just to reach Centrelink and get a payment they are entitled to."
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180