FEDERAL member for Calare John Cobb says plans to relocate Medicare to Centrelink’s Five Ways office are “crazy” and he’ll press Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to reconsider.
While he agrees in principal that Centrelink and Medicare should operate from the same building, Mr Cobb says the Summer Street location where Centrelink has moved to is inappropriate.
“The idea of relocating it [Medicare] to one of the worse intersections in NSW is crazy,” he said.
“As an exercise in commonsense it’s not good.”
Mr Cobb said a building housing both services needed to have adequate parking and access.
“The Centrelink placement is questionable, add to that the congestion from Medicare ... it’s not clever,” he said.
Mr Cobb said he intended to speak to Ms Plibersek this week and convince her to change her mind.
He hoped to have a response from her by the end of the month.
“Parking is a problem and so is safety, it’s dangerous for children and it’s dangerous for older people,” he said.
Mr Cobb said he would recommend Medicare move to a temporary location until the problem was rectified.
“It’s just not tenable,” he said.
The centralisation of Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services is due for completion by the end of 2014.
The Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said the idea was to offer a single and convenient location to access Australian government services.
“While there hasn’t been a date confirmed for the co-location of Medicare and Centrelink offices in Orange, the department is planning to bring these services together later in the year,” Mr Jongen said.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will also operate from the same office.