Australia Fed govt apologises for Centrelink queues

23:21  23 march  2020
23:21  23 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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As part of the the federal government 's second stimulus package, it is doubling the job seeker allowance to ,100 per fortnight for six Thousands who have lost their jobs are queuing outside Centrelink offices across the country as businesses shut their doors amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Queues stretched for metres outside Centrelink service centres in major cities on Monday morning following the government 's announcement of extra support for those affected by A hospitality worker who has recently lost his job said it was frustrating that it wasn't possible to just email Centrelink .

Video provided by Sky News Australia

No one could have predicted the run on Centrelink offices around the country as thousands of Australians tried to register with the welfare agency for the first time, the federal government says.

Long queues formed on Monday after the online portal for government services crashed as people scrambled to apply for benefits as job losses mount due to the economic impact of the coronavirus which has shut down many businesses.

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  Panic-buying at grand opening of Perth's first Costco Perth's first Costco store has opened its doors, drawing huge crowds of shoppers hoping to stock up as coronavirus panic-buying sweeps the city. The shopping frenzy brought queues so long, they wrapped around the entire 14,000 square metre warehouse.The American members-only hypermarket, known for its oversized products and bulk-buy bargains, was forced to let customers in half an hour earlier than planned as the queue continued to grow. © 9News The shopping frenzy brought queues so long, they wrapped around the entire 14,000 square metre warehouse.

Centrelink . Centrelink online accounts. Claim your payments and manage your details online. If you don't speak English and need help, call the Translating and Interpreting Service.

Centrelink Online Account Registration. Help. To use the Express Plus Lite mobile app, you need to register for a Centrelink online account. You can report your income with the app in languages other than English.

"I don't think that anybody expected or could have prepared for ... such an accelerated demand that came yesterday," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told Nine's Today show on Tuesday.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around Australia

"We clearly understand the distress that this coronavirus is causing."

The federal government is now appealing to people trying to register with Centrelink - many for the first time - to hold off for a few days.

"We are asking for patience and calm ... What we saw yesterday was heartbreaking."

The MyGov online portal crashed on Monday after it was overwhelmed by people trying to access it.

The government said the site could only handle 55,000 visitors at once, but numbers spiked to almost 100,000. On a normal day, visitor numbers are about 6,000.

The volume of traffic was so high, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert initially claimed hackers were responsible for crashing the website.

Senator Ruston said there was no excuse for what happened.

"I'm apologising," she said.

Centrelink will boost its workforce by 5000 people to deal with the influx of applicants and extend call centre hours.

But there will be fewer staff at the centres because of social distancing requirements. No pop-up shopfronts are planned.

Many families, workers and business owners have been forced to seek social security payments as the pandemic throws the national economy, which is likely heading into a recession, into chaos.

Sentor Ruston said no-one needs to line up at Centrelink offices on Tuesday, unless they don't have a phone or internet access.

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek says the government should have planned better and made sure the system was up to task.

Generous Australian man hands out $100 cash to workers queuing outside Centrelink

  Generous Australian man hands out $100 cash to workers queuing outside Centrelink A generous Australian man has handed out $100 cash to each one of the hundreds of jobless workers waiting outside the Centrelink office in Melbourne's Box Hill.The good Samaritan, John, gave each person in line at Centrelink Box Hill a $100 note after driving past the office and 'feeling sick to his stomach'.

"And if it does crash, for goodness sake, we've got a minister pretending it was a hacking job - the fastest way the government can lose trust of Australians is not to be frank about this stuff," she told ABC News.

"These are unprecedented times. It is likely the government will need to do more."

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Six million workers to be paid under govt's $130 billion JobKeeper scheme .
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