Minister of Government Services refuses to rule out Centrelink’s ‘mega-office’ plan for Newcastle | Newcastle Herald


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The Centrelink service centers in Mayfield and Newcastle will not be merged “at this point,” said Minister of Government Services Linda Reynolds, but her ministry “continues to seek the best model of service for the Newcastle community”. In a proposal revealed in late 2019, the federal government planned to merge five Centrelink offices, including the Mayfield and Newcastle service centers, into a “mega-office.” He led an expression of interest process that ended in early 2020, researching 8,100 square meters of space in Waratah, Georgetown, Hamilton North, Hamilton East, Broadmeadow, Newcastle West, Wickham, Maryville or Tighes Hill . The new office is said to have housed around 500 employees and resulted in the closure of service centers in Newcastle and Mayfield, but the head of Services Australia – the department to which Centrelink and Medicare reports – has stressed that no jobs will be lost in the merger. The Newcastle Herald reported last year that at least a half-dozen formal expressions of interest had been submitted, but the government appeared to have suspended the plan in light of the coronavirus outbreak. He had mentioned 2022 as a deadline for the consolidation of existing leases. Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon wrote to Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds in September to request an update on the proposal, which she has campaigned against since its first appearance. She said that at the time, the government’s “provision of essential services” to the electorate was already “alarming” and that Centrelink was “hands down, the number one issue” voters raised with it. In a letter to Ms. Claydon, Minister Reynolds did not rule out a merger. “The agency is committed to maintaining face-to-face services for Newcastle residents, providing Medicare and Centrelink services in one place,” she said. “The agency continues to research the best model of service for the Newcastle community. At this point the current agency office arrangements will remain the same and they will update the community if they decide to propose any changes.” Ms Claydon criticized the response, saying the Morrison government had to “be upfront” about its “national plan to shut down Centrelink”. She said 10 offices had closed across the country in the past year, some “with such haste and secrecy, even cabinet ministers were taken by surprise.” “From Mornington and Newport to Victoria to Newcastle and Tweed Heads in New South Wales, local communities have remained in a state of anxiety and uncertainty, unsure whether their local Centrelink office will even be there, when they will. will need it, ”Ms. Claydon said. . “Once again, the minister is hiding under the guise of ‘commercial trust’, leaving vulnerable Novoccastrians completely in the dark.”



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