Childers and Gin Gin to have better access to Centrelink, Medicare services

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A man walks into a Centrelink, part of the Australian government's department of human services where job seekers search for employment, in a Sydney suburb, August 7, 2014. Reuters/Jason Reed

Childers and Gin Gin residents will have access to expanded service hours. New Department of Human Services Agents will commence on September 18.

The new agents will open in these towns to provide communities with all-day access to Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services. It will replace the existing visiting service from 9 am to 11:45 am AEST on weekdays.

It would also generate employment opportunities for locals in both towns to provide the Agent service. Agents obtain comprehensive training and ongoing support to help locals with access to self-service facilities, verify Proof of Identity documents and access general information.

Hank Jongen, Department of Human Services general manager, said they will join a network of over 350 high-trained Agents across Australia. “Agents help people in regional, rural and remote communities to do their business with the department, and keep connected with the government services they need, no matter where they live,” he said.

Online options

Jongen said they are aware that more people in the area prefer online options rather than face-to-face services, so it makes sense to open Agents. It would provide the community with better access to facilities and services. He explained that agents will be able to assists people in utilising their website, which has a new design. It would be easier for anyone to find the information he needs.

“People will be able to visit our Agents to lodge online claims for payments like Age Pension and Youth Allowance, and be assisted to check on the progress of their claims through our new online Claim Tracker,” Jongen said. Childers and Gin Gin residents can use their accounts online or Express Plus mobile apps in completing their business. Agents can accept printed claim forms and assist locals in lodging documents.

The Agents will be situated at the Childers Neighbourhood Centre at 69 Churchill Street and next to the Gin Gin Library at 39 Mulgrave Street from 9 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays. Department of Human Services staff will be having digital education workshops at the two sites.

In other news, the Australian government continues to ensure that all Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are prepared for the opportunities of post-service life. The inaugural Veterans’ Employment Awards was recently launched, which will celebrate Aussie businesses that are employing veterans and contains nine categories. Earlier this year, the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) on Veterans’ Employment was formed to increase job opportunities for veterans.

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