Delays possible during industrial action

Employees at Centrelink will join other staff at the Department of Human Services in strike action on Friday. Photo: Erin Jonasson
Employees at Centrelink will join other staff at the Department of Human Services in strike action on Friday. Photo: Erin Jonasson

Dubbo region residents who plan to access Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support services this afternoon have been encouraged to use online and self-service options while planned industrial action by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is underway.

Staff at the Dubbo Service Centre may be engaging in industrial action from 1:30pm, Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen said, but the site is not expected to close.

He said the department was working hard to minimise disruption to services.

“I can reassure people that ongoing customer payments will not be affected by the industrial action,” Mr Jongen said.

“It is possible however that there will be a reduced number of staff in our service centres and on the phones.

“The Dubbo Service Centre [was] open for business as usual this morning, however, if people have business that isn’t urgent, we ask that they consider visiting the service centre at another time or use our online services or Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support mobile apps to do their regular business with us.”

He said the department would have arrangements in place to make sure that staff would be available to help those in financial hardship and who need immediate assistance.

The DHS and the CPSU are currently bargaining before the the Fair Work Commission.

In its most recent offer, the department committed to maintaining virtually all existing staff entitlements, including all its family friendly entitlements, the DHS said. It was also offering staff a pay rise in line with community standards.

The department was also committed to providing staff with the opportunity to vote on a new enterprise agreement as soon as possible, the DHS said.

The department said the industrial action would not change its position in terms of negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.  

Information on digital self-service options is available at www.humanservices.gov.au/selfservice