Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Cutting red tape for job seekers

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today announced the first measure to come out of a taskforce set up to relieve the administrative burden on Centrelink Customers. Senator Vanstone said the measure would streamline administrative processes for unemployed people reclaiming assistance after their temporary or short-term job comes to an end.

“I want a system that encourages people to take up any available work, including temporary or short-term jobs,” Senator Vanstone said.

“Job seekers can be discouraged from going off income support because of overly complex processes facing them if their job ends and they need to go back to Centrelink for further help.

“The Government’s aim is to make it easier for genuine job seekers to get help from Centrelink.”

“The Rules Simplification Taskforce was set up in February this year to review administrative rules and procedures for Centrelink customers.

“Under the new measure, which takes effect from September 2001, unemployed people who reclaim payment within 52 weeks of going off payment will receive a shortened claim process.

“Repeat claimants will only need to update their personal details for Centrelink’s records if they’ve changed. Not having to re-supply all of this information they have previously given to Centrelink will save time and they will only have to supply one document to prove their identity, not three.

“This initiative will cut red tape and simplify processes for the estimated 300 000 unemployed customers who go off payment and come back,” Senator Vanstone said.

“Centrelink staff will also be ‘freed up’ to spend more time on addressing customers’ real needs, rather than gathering information they already have.

“Streamlining the claim process for repeat customers will cut the average Newstart new claim process by 5 to 10 minutes – a saving of tens of thousands of hours each year across the Centrelink network.

“This is yet another example of the Howard Government’s determination to ensure that our social security system encourages participation,” Senator Vanstone said.