Centrelink faces privatisation

Issue 

BY JIM McILROY

BRISBANE — A bulletin issued by the Community and Public Sector Union to Centrelink staff on February 22 reported that "Recent media reports have exposed a plan by the federal government to impose a new 'fee for service' funding model on Centrelink as a forerunner to privatisation after the next federal election".

A leaked briefing paper outlined federal employment minister Tony Abbott's funding plan to be included in the May federal budget.

"If Tony Abbott successfully implements these new funding arrangements, several things are certain: Centrelink's funding would be severely reduced, as a 'fee for service' model would not recognise expenditure like maintaining a Centrelink office network around the country; Centrelink would have to cut jobs and services, particularly in rural and regional Australia, to make up the funding shortfall; [and] Centrelink's performance would suffer because of cuts to jobs and services, making privatisation more likely", the CPSU bulletin noted.

The CPSU community services section executive will shortly consider holding meetings in every Centrelink office around the country in which members will be asked to implement a public campaign to save Centrelink's services and jobs, the bulletin states.