Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

No cuts to Centrelink staff

 Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Wayne Swan is not letting the truth get in the way of a good story in regard to Centrelink staff numbers, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony said today.

“Centrelink staff numbers have been increasing. Successive Budgets have included large measures that have been administered by Centrelink, including this Budget’s $19 billion families package. Staff numbers have increased to manage these measures.

“The current staff number is around 25,000. There is a fluctuation every year of a small number of staff to support the implementation of new measures and at peak times.

“Centrelink has increased the ‘base’ number of Centrelink staff who work in all other areas including those at the frontline in Customer Service Centres and Call Centres.

“Mr Swan’s statement today that there have been Centrelink staff cuts is wrong. He knows full well that staff numbers have not been reduced by 5,000 over the last few years. This is a number that he appears to have plucked out of the air.

“There is a very disturbing trend in Mr Swan’s recent public statements. He just makes things up as he goes along with no regard for the truth. He is only interested in scaring Australian families and the most vulnerable in our community for political advantage.

“It is a well worn Labor Party tactic to criticise and carp when they have no policy of their own. Seemingly bent on maintaining his position as the Master of Misinformation, Mr Swan’s statements need to be viewed with a sceptical eye,” Mr Anthony said.