CENTRELINK needs to overhaul the way it deals with the public and introduce a ticket system to give customers more privacy an Orange resident said.
Julie Death said she has had numerous dealings with Centrelink in Orange and the queuing system where people are assessed in line by a customer liaison officer, is an invasion of privacy.
“Why can’t Centrelink organise itself like Medicare or the RTA and have a system where you take a number and wait,” she said.
Several customers have spoken to the Central Western Daily saying the system at Centrelink is humiliating and an invasion of privacy.
However last Friday Centrelink’s head office in Canberra told the CWD, staff at Orange had been reminded of the need to ensure privacy and people could request to move away from the queue to give details.
Mrs Death said dealing with Centrelink over four months as an advocate for a family member has been frustrating and stressful.
“Initially I approached Centrelink four times in four months by phone and waited on the line anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes each time only to be told there were no available appointments and they would ring me when one became available,” she said.
Mrs Death said after going to the Orange office she was told no appointments were available after waiting in line for half an hour.
After waiting for months for an appointment she rang the Centrelink complaints line.
“Miraculously an appointment opened up for me,” she said.
Mrs Death said her primary concern for a family member to get the necessary assessment to get a job was blocked for several months.
“I thought Centrelink were supposed to help people get off benefits,” she said.
Fellow Orange resident Peter Cashman said over several months he tried to keep Centrelink updated on he and his wife’s assets and incomes but the system continually blocked him and he was unable to do so.
After visits to the Orange office to have the matter sorted out he said he wrote to the federal ombudsman’s office complaining about the lack of service.
“Some people were helpful during that time, but if you need to get information and line up in that queue you might as well kiss goodbye to at least 30 minutes,” he said.