Paying the Price of Welfare Reform

This landmark study looks at on the impact of Centrelink automation on Anglicare staff and clients. Our research found that people are falling through the cracks as Centrelink services become more and more automated.

It is becoming harder to talk to a human being. Staff in Centrelink service centres now direct people to phones and computers, rather than offering help. At the same time, people report spending hours waiting on the phone only to get cut off. And Centrelink’s online system can malfunction and is difficult to use.

Centrelink might believe that it’s saving time and money, but what it’s really doing is shifting the burden onto its clients and the services that help them. This research shows people are being shuttled between different Centrelink platforms, getting different answers depending on who they speak to, and having to turn to services like Anglicare just to manage it all.

Our report shows that these problems are only getting worse as more people are pushed onto Newstart from other payments. Two thirds of Anglicare workers we surveyed said these Centrelink processes increased the amount of support clients needed because they were stressed and anxious.

The research was conducted across three different jurisdictions by Anglicare Southern Queensland, Anglicare Tasmania, and Anglicare Western Australia. It involved surveys and face to face interviews with a total of 218 staff, and the collection of client case studies.