Millions of Australians who use Centrelink and Medicare could have shorter call wait times and better customer service after a staffing boost.
The federal government will hire 3000 new recruits to Services Australia’s frontline as part of its efforts to implement recommendations from the robodebt royal commission.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten says the extra staff will help return humans to Centrelink and Medicare and prevent schemes such as robodebt from ever occurring again.
Looking for a new job or job candidate? Post jobs and search for local talent on 7NEWS Jobs >>
“The Liberals wickedly used the illegal robodebt scheme to decimate contact channels so people could not connect with Services Australia and make complaints,” Shorten said.
“The new staff will be critical to reducing call wait times, speeding up claim payments and giving Australians back some time in their busy lives.”
The Aussies worst hit by cost of living crisis revealed
Melbourne dad to ‘retire straight away’ after winning $2.5m
Under the former Liberal governments, the debt recovery program had falsely accused people of owing the government money and eventually took more than $750 million from almost 400,000 Australians.
The robodebt royal commission final report in July recommended the government facilitate “easy and efficient engagement options of online, in-person and telephone communication which is sensitive to the particular circumstances of the customer cohort”.
Prior to this $228 million recruitment blitz, Services Australia had fewer public servants per capita than at any other time after the former government reduced the number of staff by 3800.
The new recruits will be deployed to centres in capital cities and regional centres such as Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour in NSW, Toowoomba and Maryborough in Queensland, and Ballarat and LaTrobe Valley in Victoria.
More than 800 people have already begun training.
Australian Public Service Commissioner Gordon de Brouwer revealed last month that 16 public servants were being investigated for breaches of the code of conduct in relation to the debt recovery scheme.