Long queues at Centrelink reflect employment pressures

COVID-19

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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The queue outside the Mossman Centrelink office today. Image: Supplied.
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The Mossman Centrelink office has been swamped this morning as people rush to sign up for the new Coronavirus Supplement payment just one day after the Prime Minister announced it.

As more and more people find themselves without work due to new measures introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 including the closure of pubs, clubs and the restrictions on restaurants to takeaway only, Centrelink offices around the country are experiencing long queues out the door.


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Those who have never received payments from Centrelink before are required to verify their identity in-person to obtain a Customer Reference Number (CRN) which can then be used for all Centrelink purposes.

Those who have received assistance from Centrelink before will have a CRN already and can just make claims online.

However, to make matters worse the Federal Government's online portal for unemployment benefits, MyGov, also crashed this morning under the increased strain caused by coronavirus lockdown measures.

MyGov has said they are working on the issues and urge Australians to be patient.

The Coronavirus Supplement announced by the Federal Government yesterday is a $550 a fortnight payment for those receiving payments through JobSeeker, formally known as Newstart.

Eligible income support recipients will receive the coronavirus supplement on top of their payment each fortnight.

It is available to both new and existing recipients of the JobSeeker Payment.

The Government is also helping more people access welfare payments by waiving some asset tests and waiting periods.

Sole traders and casual workers whose fortnightly income is less than $1,075 will be eligible to receive the full supplement.

“This means, anyone eligible for the maximum JobSeeker payment will now receive more than $1,100 a fortnight, effectively doubling the Jobseeker allowance,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said yesterday.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government is supercharging the safety net.

"This is focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows,” he said.


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