Social services system has ‘capacity to ruin lives’

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been warned the social services system has “the capacity to ruin lives” if the Government does not take urgent action. Source: The Australian.

In a shared statement, unions and key stakeholders have called on the Government to act with compassion and boost resources to Services Australia in a desperate plea to fix the system.

“Covid-19 highlights the need for a strong, supportive, accessible and publicly funded social security system more than ever,” the statement said.

The list of demands – co-authored by unions and stakeholders such as Australian Council of Social Services, St Vincent de Paul Society and People with Disability Australia – include hiring more staff and social workers, and redesigning debt recovery processes.

Public service union boss Alistair Waters said recent hiring changes meant Australians were worse off when it came to accessing Services Australia.

Mr Waters said the “privatisation of Services Australia jobs” means “less training and less security for workers, higher turnover, more time spent fixing mistakes for permanent staff, more errors and real delays for the community”.

He added if the system was not urgently fixed, it could inflict real damage on everyday Australians because the way Government agencies are run has “the capacity to ruin lives, just like we saw from the Robodebt program”.

NCA Newswire sought comment from the office of Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds.

FULL STORY

Key stakeholders call on government to fix Services Australia in desperate plea to improve services (By Courtney Gould, NCA Newswire via The Australian)

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