Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Recognising Centrelink’s commitment to Youth

Centrelink officers with a commitment to delivering services to young people were recognised for their efforts last night by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony at the Centrelink Excellence in Youth Servicing Awards.

“In National Youth Week, I am pleased to recognise the achievements of Centrelink officers for their efforts to ensure young people have suitable and quality access to assistance and support.

“The Lesley Tannahill Young Gun Award was presented for the first time recognising excellence, innovation and a commitment to young people.

“Categories for the awards include corporate citizenship, community commitment, excellence in multicultural youth servicing, Indigenous youth servicing and general youth servicing.

“My congratulations go to all finalists and winners for their efforts and achievements.”

Mr Anthony also launched Centrelink’s video and CD-ROM package as part of Centrelink’s Youth Servicing Strategy outlining current and proposed expanded electronic service delivery and self-help options for young people through the Internet and phone.

“Centrelink’s Youth Servicing Strategy will continue to guide Centrelink service delivery to young people in the future. Simplifying access to Centrelink services by using a range of technologies familiar to young people and students will substantially help young people.

“The focus is on increasing the range of self service facilities through increased internet and telephone technologies, allowing customers to access services at a time and place which best suits their needs, without unnecessary disruption to their studies, work or personal lives.

“Centrelink is continually developing new and improved ways of providing services to its young customers, such as the ongoing SMS text messaging trial.

“Email is another way Centrelink is providing information swiftly to its customers with more than 30,000 student customers receiving Student Update this way. Customers currently receiving the newsletter by mail can choose to switch to email by calling 13 2490 or visiting a Centrelink Customer Service Centre with their current email address,” Mr Anthony said.

Centrelink Excellence in Youth Servicing Award winners

Corporate Citizenship – Joint Winners

Sarah Pearce, Learning Team, Western Australia

Sarah has co-ordinated the development of WA’s Young Guns group to encourage
retention of younger staff by developing strategies to improve personal motivation and career satisfaction. Sarah also co-ordinates the Youth Inbound program for WA and is heavily involved in recruitment induction programs.

Ryan Holdsworth, Area Support Office, Central North Queensland

Ryan provides excellent customer service and has been instrumental in finding solutions to complex problems for Rehabilitation Case Managers. He has developed innovative solutions that have helped staff remain at work.

Community Commitment

Reagan Lea, Werribee Centrelink, Victoria
Reagan has been integral to the success of the Port Phillip prison outreach project. He has developed strong relationships with community organisations and relevant Job
Network members to facilitate a smoother transition for this customer base back into Werribee’s community.

Excellence in Multicultural Youth Servicing

Gordon Skidmore, Caboolture Centrelink, Brisbane
Gordon’s involvement with the Samoan community to keep their young people in schools is an excellent example of how Centrelink can work in the local community to assist young people. He has gained respect within the communities in his local area
especially with the Samoan community and the neighbourhood centre with his
commitment and passion for the Multicultural Parents Education Project.

Excellence in Indigenous Youth Servicing

Jason James-Wallace, Albany Centrelink, Western Australia
Jason is focused on early intervention for young Indigenous customers, especially within the justice system. He is chairperson of the Aboriginal Police and Community Relation Committee and works closely with Indigenous support staff at the local prison to ensure young customers have ready access to Centrelink services and are quickly linked to
appropriate services.

Excellence in Youth Servicing

Lyn McPhail, Sunbury Centrelink, Victoria
Lyn has initiated and leads a youth focus group within the Sunbury community. The
focus group is currently looking at gaps in services available to youth in Sunbury and ways of bridging these gaps. The group is currently liaising with community agencies and local councils to obtain space to set up a local youth cafe, fun city for youth and rock fest.

Excellence in Youth Servicing – community nomination

Daryl New, Bankstown Youth Service, nominated by Bankstown Senior College and Macarthur Youth Commitment
Daryl New has been intrinsically involved in many youth related projects in the Macarthur region, especially in partnership with Macarthur Youth Commitment and local schools. He has helped students achieve an improvement with attendance through the Positive Participation Program and runs workshops for young people where he discusses the value of education and attendance. He follows up with monthly interviews for students who have attendance issues to ensure their needs are being met.

Lesley Tannahill Young Gun Award

Damian West, People Management, National Support Office, Canberra
Damian’s involvement in the National Youth Inbound Program resulted in him becoming a driving force in the establishment of Centrelink’s involvement in the Australian International Student Exchange Program (AIESEC). His commitment to the issues of young people is displayed through this work, much of which was done in his own time. He successfully arranged for four young Centrelink employees to venture overseas as part of their participation in this program.