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May 11, 2021

Byron Centrelink office to close next week

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The Byron Bay Centrelink office will close its doors on December 7, forcing local welfare recipients to use the Brunswick Heads office for any business requiring face-to-face contact.

In a statement released on Thursday morning the Commonwealth Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen said the Byron centre was closing on  due to a ‘significant reduction in foot traffic’.

‘There’s a very low demand for face-to-face services in Byron Bay as more people are choosing to complete their business online,’ Mr Jongen said.

‘The Byron Bay Service Centre currently provides a digital express service offer, where people can use self service terminals or phone self service to complete their business.

‘People in the community can continue to do this themselves at a time and place that suits them through myGov or the Express Plus mobile apps.

‘People who need more complex support have been referred to Brunswick Heads Service Centre for some time.’

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  1. And who will provide the transport from Byron to Bruns? And what the hell does ‘referred’ supposed to mean? Sheesh.

    I’m getting so bloody sick of all governments treating people as an inconvenience to their bottom lines.

    Roll on NSW and Federal elections.

  2. Outrageous!! The Byron Centrelink won the best public service Centrelink office of the year. The reason by far for the decreased foot traffic is that the Federal govt has been reallocating existing users to Brunswick and Ballina for the last several years. Byron Bay is the Shires largest residential area, and is the dominant shopping/banking/service centre used by residents out of Byron Bay. Bruns has 1700 residents. There is no direct bus to Bruns from the Bay. A simple need for a face to face to sort out issues will now require the best part of a day’s travel for a bus to Mullum and then another to Bruns and back, an unfortunate obligation if you are elderly, incapacitated, or have children and babies in tow. Its all about money and the high cost of rent, and screw the aged and disability pensioners, the new mums, the students and the unemployed. Centrelink needs a presence in Byron Bay, by all means a smaller cheaper office would be acceptable. This needs to be an Election Issue – write, email, phone the candidates, and political parties, and put it on the election issues agenda.

    • Another good example John, of why the idea of a train for public transport will not work. There are in fact occasional one seat services between the Bay and Brunswick Heads (the morning and afternoon 645). You are dreaming if you believe that if a Government was forced by the Greens to shift a large part of public transport funding to rail, that that Government would not cut bus services that took patronage from the train such as that direct bus, let alone be prepared to fund any improvements such as more direct buses to Brunswick Heads. Journeys from Brunswick Heads to the hospital would be even longer involving a train and two buses. Rail would return us to the longer combined bus and train journeys that some of us endured getting to school in this area in the sixties that led to parents lobbying to drop the train and introduce direct school buses.

      As the years go by the rail line gets less and less relevant for those who need public transport. The worry is rail is electorally popular with a lot of people, particularly those who do not depend on and would rarely if ever use public transport.

  3. I walked into the Byron Bay Centrelink about April last year to register for the aged pension. It took about 8 months & help from Justine O’Neill’s electorate office before they started paying me. It was clear they wanted everyone to communicate on-line. Perhaps my mistake was trying to do it face-to-face. At one stage i tried visiting the Brunswick Heads office ‘cos I was told Byron didn’t do face-to-face. That was useless & just added another layer of confusion.
    Since Byron office, as John Lazarus points out, hasn’t done face-to-face for some time, what have they been doing, apart from providing a computer keyboard? Such free service is available at the Byron Library anyway.

  4. What face to face service in Byron Centrelink? I needed help to answer some tricky questions so I could fill in a form and the woman told me I’d need to go to Ballina if I wanted that sort of assistance ie someone to actually talk to!!

  5. Less foot traffic because more and more interactions mandated to be done online or at the end of an interminable phone queue. Staff are powerless to give assistance to those on the wrong side of the digital divide. It’s a wonder any Centrelink office has any patronage any more. It’s not much of a ‘choice’ Mr Jongen more an engineered outcome.

    Then there’s the stark reality that there must be fewer and fewer welfare recipients able to afford to live in Byron Bay!

  6. I couldn’t agree more!!

    people living in Byron on welfare shouldn’t be punished! Why would you make life MORE difficult for those already vulnerable struggling on Centrelink benefits?!!!

  7. More decline in a very bad government.
    What about those who have disabilities,
    Small children, OR a phobia of being out in public.



  8. They did this 30 years ago with the Redlands Shire in Qld, back in the days of the recesion we had to have. It made reporting into a whole day affair. I signed up for Newstart 2 months ago and have already had my payment suspended due to the inefficiency of the MyGov app. I have never been advised of the Express Plus app and my MyGov app is not getting messages since providing a sickness certificate. My father can not use a computer and needs face to face service, like so many others. I have heard that the bad service dished out from Centrelink is because the staff want it to look bad for the Government but, I think this is a slap in the face for all general folk as a cost cutting exercise. Another way of cutting people off their payment and stalling tactics, just like the local aboriginals that had to try and get from Stradbroke Island to Wynnum, to be told they had to do it all again tomorrow and the next day as there was at least 300 people waiting to be served. The Government is meant to be there for the people, we give so much in foreign aid, and yet we have people working for our Government that are not Australian citizens. The last 6 years I have had my medical conditions blasted all over my area, defaming my name and ripping off the tax payer in the form of wage subsidy. As I have been advised that what happened is “highly irregular”, but after contacting Centrelink with regards to this matter, all I receive is, “Centrelink doesn’t look into these matters”.? When are our Citizens going to wake up to the fact this is our home, are we entitled to benefits if we go to England, New Zealand or any other country. Also a fact that Australians are being ripped off with wages. I am owed 89.5 hours of unpaid overtime, by a company owned by Poms, was placed as a disability worker. The Kiwi that ran the Disabilty Servive Provider complained to me that Australians don’t want to work, we love to work when you are actually getting paid. C’mon Australia, we can spend the tax payers money better.

  9. Jodie Collins, if i were a lesser person id wish you a life filled with incurable, debilitating illness, inability to work for a living any longer and having to watch your children suffer for it, followed by old age that is empty and drags on for eternity, while you suffer wordlessly with nothing and nobody to help. I further hope that when you go begging for help, doors are slammed in your face. Narrow mindedness is almost a disease in itself.

  10. Centrelink has had signs up advising of the closure for weeks – why are all these advocates of the service only complaining now?

  11. The government does not want us to interact with staff. They are instructed to make you do everything online. Hence Social Security was changed to Centre link. The name change tells you everything. Staff are also fearful of losing their jobs as the government is contracting more and more of their work. One staff member told me MyGov App is useless and never should have been released. It’s all about frustrating you enough to make you give up claiming altogether and massaging the unemployment figures.


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