Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

St Marys Centrelink services will not diminish

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today dismissed claims by Labor that services at St Marys Centrelink will diminish.

“St Marys Centrelink office will continue to provide the full complement of services for local residents. There will be no reduction in services and I reject completely the suggestion that the branch is in jeopardy of closing,” Mr Anthony said.

“Centrelink has implemented changes to fast track new claims by creating dedicated teams of experts on particular payment types at Mt Druitt and Penrith.

“These new teams will not diminish services at St Marys. In fact, customers who are claiming a Centrelink payment for the first time can choose to have their appointment with expert officers at Penrith or Mt Druitt.

“If this is inconvenient, customers can still have their claims handled at St Marys.

“It’s important that customers also understand this change supports first claims only and that all ongoing business can be done at the St Marys office.”

Mr Anthony said the approach recognised the diversity of payments and services delivered by Centrelink.

“Centrelink delivers in excess of 100 different payments and services to the Australian community. It makes sense for dedicated teams to handle new claims assessment – which can be complex – so that payments can be made sooner.

“I encourage new Centrelink customers to make use of this option, but wish to reassure residents that St Marys Centrelink will not turn any customers away. New customers who cannot visit the centres at Penrith or Mt Druitt will still be able to have their first claim processed in St Marys.

“In true Labor Party style, Member for Chifley, Roger Price and Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Wayne Swan and Labor candidate for Prospect, Chris Bowen are deliberately misleading locals and their claims should be taken with a grain of salt,” Mr Anthony said.