Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

In Touch Program Reunites Families and Friends

Centrelink’s In Touch program last year received 1,730 requests to help ‘missing people’ get back in touch with their loved ones and friends.

“In Touch also helps members of the community wishing to find family or friends who they have lost contact with.

“Upon receiving a request Centrelink writes to the person being sought, informing them of the person trying to make contact and providing the appropriate contact details should the person wish to follow the request up.

“Requests often come from people such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross, as well as many from the police.

“Centrelink does not provide information on customers to anyone, unless the police are concerned that a person is missing and their safety and well being are at risk.

“In such an instance the Police are only informed of the customers address after the customer has been given fourteen days to contact the Police’s Missing Persons Unit.

“As always, the customer’s privacy is protected.

“This is an excellent program. It provides an avenue for families and friends to approach their loved ones, to let them know they care. Yet it also ensures that at all times, the individual’s privacy is paramount.

“This Government is committed to assisting families to stay together and support each other. The Government has developed this program and support payments to help families stay together and to get in touch.