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NSW Labor calls on Government to increase Service NSW workforce after yesterday’s Centrelink fiasco

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Pictures emerged yesterday morning of government service centres, including Centrelink, with dozens of people waiting in line to access government payments not adhering to social distancing rules.

In response, NSW Labor has called on the Government to significantly increase staff numbers at Service NSW to deal with increased demand from the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing bushfire recovery.

The Government’s plans to cut $110 million from the budget of Service NSW will see millions of NSW residents worse off, including through jobs cut from the agency.

“Staff are stretched to the limit in our Service NSW centres and there appears to be no plan to fix it,” Labor Shadow Minister for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis, said.

“Our community relies on Service NSW to pay bills and access cost of living rebates, and never has it been more important that those services are safely accessible to the community.”

The Federal Government has announced that Services Australia will hire an additional 3000 new staff to help manage relief payments, however, no similar move has been announced by the NSW Government.

“The Berejiklian Government has an opportunity to help the community by ruling out cuts to Service NSW and employing additional staff during the crisis,” Ms Cotsis said.

“We know that a bipartisan approach to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is essential, however, we won’t leave workers behind. Our Service NSW staff need to be properly resourced so they can continue to provide our community with vital services.”

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