Services Australia to take on 3,000 new frontline staff

Services Australia will get a $228 million injection to put on 3,000 new frontline staff across NSW, Queensland and Victoria after its acting chief admitted the agency is failing to meet its own KPIs.

Bill Shorten

Services Australia currently has fewer public servants per capita than at any time and the investment in new staff will restore some of the 3,800 employees cut at the agency over the past decade, the government says.

Eight hundred new service delivery staff are currently being onboarded and recruitment is continuing, government services minister Bill Shorten says.

“Services Australia will be bringing on the staff as quickly as possible, with more than 800 Australians already accepting jobs at the agency,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.

“These 3,000 new staff are the first step in returning people to frontline Services Australia roles.”

Restoring humans to government services was a recommendation of the Robodebt Royal Commission into the failed automated debt collection system.

“The … government will ensure Robodebt never happens again by bringing human oversight back into government services,” Mr Shorten said.

“We are committed to restoring Services Australia’s funding, replenishing its workforce and getting the Agency back on track.”

The announcement comes after it was revealed during a Senate Estimates hearing last month that Centrelink was plagued with long call centre waiting times and delays in processing claims.

Services Australia acting CEO Chris Birrer told a hearing on October 25 that the agency wasn’t meeting its own KPIs and “we would like to have better customer service performance in a number of measures”.

Bureaucrats from services Australia will face more questioning over the performance of Centrelink on Tuesday.

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