Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

In Touch – reuniting families and friends at Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, Centrelink’s In Touchprogram is helping people get back in touch with their loved ones and friends.

In Touch has been operating since 1988 and has helped thousands of people find their family or friends.

With over six million clients receiving some form of government assistance, there is a good chance that Centrelink has information in its database that can help people reunite.

The process is simple, effective and sensitive to privacy concerns. 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 up the request.

The missing person ‘s right to privacy is always the primary consideration. They are provided with the information to contact their family or friend and the rest is up to them.

The success of the program can be measured in its popularity. The Salvation Army, the Red Cross and Police Missing Persons Units all regularly use this great service. In fact, in the last year alone, Centrelink assisted the Police Missing Persons Units with 1,834 missing persons cases.

The In Touch service is available at all Centrelink offices and the sympathetic staff are specially trained to help families in stressful circumstances.