Tasmania’s community service sector has rallied together to provide immediate support to Tasmanians impacted by the Centrelink debt recovery debacle.
Several community organisations have pooled funds of over $12,000 to increase resources for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Hobart and Launceston to provide access to a dedicated Welfare Rights Officer, Monday through Friday.
CEO of TasCOSS Kym Goodes said sector leaders had come together to ensure first and foremost Tasmanians were supported as they attempted to navigate the flawed system.
“Tens of thousands of Tasmanians—through redundancies, seasonal jobs, disability and a lack of available jobs—have qualified for some form of social assistance in the period under examination,” Ms Goodes said.
“We could not stand by and watch people suffer alone. We are hearing from many people in our services and at TasCOSS that people do not know where to go or how to challenge the letters as the Centrelink system hits overload.
“As TasCOSS Members would do in the case of any disaster event, we have dug deep into our budgets to find funds to provide effective and immediate support for Tasmanians who need somewhere to go to get advice.
“People are anxious, overwhelmed and frightened and we recognise they need somewhere welcoming to go to ask their questions, share their concerns and get informed advice.
“We have a duty of care to each other and we will not shirk that duty.”
To access this CLC-based assistance, Tasmanians are asked to call 6334 1577 or 6223 2500 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.
How it works
- A dedicated Welfare Rights Officer will be available by phone/in person five days a week in the Hobart and Launceston Community Legal Service offices.
- For advice and to make an appointment, Tasmanians wanting assistance with a Centrelink debt letter should call 6223 2500 or 6334 1577 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- The additional service will be available starting Monday 16 January.