Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Wait times improving on Centrelink phone lines

8 February 2019

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Wait times on some of Centrelink’s busiest phone lines are plummeting thanks to the Coalition Government’s investment in an extra 2750 call centre workers.

About half of the 2750 new staff have completed their training and are now helping to answer tens of thousands of additional customer calls each week. This boost has resulted in an 11-minute reduction in wait times on Centrelink’s employment services line and a four-minute improvement on the families line.

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said the early results were extremely encouraging and proved that the use of private call centre workers was an effective and efficient way to improve customer service at Centrelink.

“These new workers have only been with us for just a few short months, but already we are seeing dramatic improvements on some of our busiest phone lines, which will be welcome news for the more than 1 million Australians who call Centrelink every week,” Minister Keenan said.

“We have also achieved a 42 per cent reduction in the number of engaged signals experienced by callers – something that I have been determined to eliminate since taking on the Human Services portfolio just over a year ago.

“With more than 1000 extra staff still to come on-board over the next few months, I am confident we can deliver even more remarkable results as the year goes on.”

Average wait times across all of the Department of Human Services’ phone lines reduced by 45 seconds during 2018 to 15 minutes and 15 seconds, which is below the target time of 16 minutes. The number of calls transferred to another operator also reduced by 28 per cent during the year.

Page last updated: 1 April 2019