Long delays in Youth Allowance processing have forced Queensland students to rely on friends and family for food while they wait for a response from Centrelink.
Senator for New South Wales Doug Cameron said students he’s spoken with today have been severely affected by this DHS management and IT system failure.
“The Turnbull Government is claiming that the problem is fixed, but their further 918 job cuts from the Department of Human Services mean that students can expect more of the same delays from the Liberals in the future,” Senator Cameron said.
Member for Moreton Graham Perrett said, “My constituents have suffered because of these processing failures. Parents are doing their best to support their kids, but the delays have stretched budgets and caused huge uncertainty.
“It’s a particular worry for anyone who doesn’t have parental support, anyone coming from the bush or a different part of Brisbane to study. Rent doesn’t wait 8 weeks. Food can’t wait. Books and study materials are needed up front,” Mr Perrett said.
The Turnbull Government has dropped the ball on this issue.
Senator Cameron noted that Minister Tudge has known about the scale of the problem since early 2016, but failed to act.
“We’ve heard lots of excuses from Mr Tudge, but little action to fix the problem. Initially, a DHS spokesman was sent out to blame a ‘peak period’, which has lasted from December to May,” Senator Cameron said.
“More recently, Mr Tudge said there had been ‘an unprecedented number of claims’.
“There has been no ‘unprecedented number of Youth Allowance claims’, there has been an unprecedented number on hand precisely because of the failure exposed at Senate Estimates.”*
Students in Perth, Queensland and the Hunter have used media platforms to highlight the issue, but even those placed on the ‘expedited list’ faced long delays, as caller Liz told Triple J’s Hack program.**
There is also concern that the rush to clear the backlog has resulted in many incorrect rejections and the system will again be overwhelmed by appeals.
DHS has been plagued with problems under the Abbott-Turnbull Government with complaints up 18.8 per cent and satisfaction down by 8 per cent in just the last year alone. Longer call wait times, misfiring online apps and Youth Allowance delays all being major sources of frustration from students.
THURSDAY, 18 MAY 2016