19.7 C
Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Labor slams govt over Centrelink, NBN waits

Latest News

Flood warning for Richmond and Wilsons Rivers

A deepening low pressure trough through the northeast of the state is expected to bring rain and thunderstorms during Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the State Emergency Service.

Other News

Smile, vague promise

Motherhood seems to be the big winner judging by the promises of our mayoral candidates and their teams. Smiling...

Can COVID vaccines shed spike proteins – and is that bad?

Spike protiens – they’re the key to a vaccine’s effectiveness, but can they actually cause health problems?

Shovel ready project

Ready-to-go 100 per cent green community power at a solar farm will be over 30 per cent more efficient...

NSW public schools to strike December 7 

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation announced on Saturday morning that NSW public school teachers and principals will go on strike one day next week.

Sale of St Oswald’s

To my utter disbelief the Grafton Diocese has decided it should sell the St Oswald’s church building and land....

Stop logging core koala habitat at Cherry Tree State Forest 

If it was private land it would be considered core koala habitat so why are the NSW government allowing Cherry Tree State Forest to be logged?

ALP candidate for the federal seat of Page, Patrick Deegan. Photo supplied

If you don’t recognise the face of Labor’s Page candidate Patrick Deegan, you soon will. He’s out and about around the electorate today, tackling the government over issues including long waits for Centrelink clients, patchy mobile reception and an inadequate NBN rollout.

He’s already been on the beat , in Lismore with shadow minister for regional services, Stephen Jones to condemn what the pair described as ‘Centrelink’s staffing crisis’.

In the face of planned cuts to Centrelink staff, they called on the sitting Page MP, the Nationals’ Kevin Hogan, to guarantee no jobs would be lost at the Lismore office.

Mr Jones said figures show that Centrelink’s average call wait times for older Australians ‘have blown out to 23 minutes and processing times for the age pension have increased to 49 days’.

‘Yet at the same time, Page MP Kevin Hogan is sitting by while more jobs are being cut from Centrelink offices like this one in Lismore. This is a disgrace.”

‘Despite these waiting times, in this year’s budget, the Turnbull government announced it would cut 1,280 jobs from Centrelink, and it has outsourced a further 1,250 jobs to labour hire,’ he said.

27,000 on pension

Mr Deegan said there are ‘more than 27,000 people in this electorate on the age pension – one of the highest in the country’.

‘Older Australians who have worked all their lives are being made to wait, on average, for two months just to have their age pensions approved. This an insult to them,’ Mr Deegan said.

‘That’s why I’m calling on Mr Hogan to give a guarantee there won’t be any job cuts to the Lismore Centrelink,’ Mr Deegan said.

‘Centrelink centres help people when they need it the most – processing aged care pensions, child care support, disability support pensions and carers allowance payments.

‘Centrelink is a vital regional service and staff here do their best under pretty difficult conditions – but this Government’s cuts and neglect mean locals aren’t getting the service they deserve.

‘It is important that Centrelink has permanent, full-time staff who are properly equipped to manage the complex issues facing income support recipients.

‘Instead of wasting time on the distraction of decentralisation of government departments, Mr Hogan, would be better off focusing on the real issues affecting locals like guaranteeing existing Centrelink jobs in Lismore,’ Mr Deegan said.

NBN and mobile blackspots

Later today the pair will be talking to Casino residents about their patchy mobile phone service outside the Casino post office.

And this evening, Mr Jones and Mr Deegan will host a forum at Lismore Workers Club, which they say will ‘highlight how under Malcolm Turnbull’s “multi-technology mix” some households are getting a great NBN, others are getting a dud, and others are still waiting for anything at all’.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “If you don’t recognise the face of Labor’s Page candidate Patrick Deegan, you soon will.”
    Did everyone read this sentence?”

    If we don’t recognise the face now how will we recognise it is the future when we have no experience with Patrick Deegan?

  2. I don’t think Kevin Hogan was recognisable before he got elected, Jimbo and our experience with Kevin Hogan is a bit like “where’s Wally”.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Storms and rain for Tuesday and Wednesday in the Northern Rivers

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting widespread thunderstorms and rain for the Northern Rivers.

Byron candidates 2021 Q&A part 2

Buckle in, seats upright, and loosen the belt!  It’s time to see what candidates have to say – in full – about our collective issues...

COVID update – Aquarius, Lismore sewage fragments and the South African variant

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 24 hours to 8pm 28 November, but, they are urging residents in the Lismore area to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.

Last chance for tickets to Byron Shire Council Meet the Candidates forum

Today is your last chance to get tickets to tonight’s Byron Shire Meet the Candidates forum in the Byron Theatre.