Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Joint venture connects regional communities

Centrelink’s use of video technology to link Tasmanian communities is leading the nation in customer service delivery, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson announced today.

“Around 20 customer video appointments are conducted every week with customers located at George Town, Deloraine, Scottsdale, St Helens, Queenstown and Flinders Island,” Senator Patterson said.

Viewing a demonstration of the service at Launceston Centrelink today, Senator Patterson said: “One of the great advantages of the video conferencing technology is that it allows Centrelink customers to talk directly to the Centrelink staff member who is dealing with their case.

“The reaction to these facilities has been very positive from both customers and staff.

“It’s amazing to see the variety of interviews which can be conducted using this medium while still maintaining the privacy of the individual.

“Originally, the facilities were intended to be used mainly for interviews for new claims or reviews of payments, but the facilities have also been very useful for people wanting to talk to Centrelink Social Workers and Personal Advisers.

“The Australian Government is well aware of its responsibility to deliver services to all Tasmanians wherever they are located – in metropolitan areas as well as rural or remote regions of the State.

“Over recent years, Centrelink in Tasmania has established a very strong partnership with Service Tasmania, which has benefited local communities by increasing access to Centrelink services.

Service Tasmania acts as agents for Centrelink, providing facilities such as form lodgement, providing brochures and information and arranging video appointments for Centrelink customers.

“This partnership is imperative for Centrelink customers and is a model of service delivery which could be expanded across Australia,” Senator Patterson said.