Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Questions without Notice

Coronavirus

2:12 pm

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Watt, for your question. Rightly, you point out that these are unprecedented times and the level of demand that we are seeing on Centrelink—Services Australia—services is absolutely unprecedented. As an example: this morning, in a half-hour period, we experienced 25,000 calls; normally we would expect to receive somewhere around 2,000 calls. One of the things that I'm delighted you have given me the opportunity to say in this place is that people who are already on benefit don't need to contact Centrelink. They don't need to call, they don't need to go in, they don't need to go online. They will automatically receive their payments from Centrelink. For those who do have to interface with Centrelink for the first time, as they're not an existing client, they only need to contact Centrelink by phone or online and provide their details. They will only be required to have evidence of things like their 100-point check. They can do that over the phone, verbally, and will not be required in the first instance to provide that direct information. So it is very important that Australians who do require the services—

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