Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Urgent welfare payments now made in real time

5 March 2019

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Vulnerable Australians and those experiencing severe hardship can now get instant access to emergency welfare payments, following Centrelink’s switch to a new real-time digital payments platform.

The New Payments Platform (NPP), developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia in collaboration with major financial institutions, allows money to be instantly transferred into a person’s account as soon as their claim is processed.

The Department of Human Services has been trialling the system for the past six months, including during the recent Townsville floods where it helped deliver $2.2 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP). It meant those most in need could access their money instantly, rather than waiting 24 to 48 hours.

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said the new platform would now be used to support people in a range of crisis situations.

“The Coalition is committed to ensuring our welfare system is properly equipped to support those experiencing severe hardship and this new platform will ensure help is always at hand, even outside of normal banking hours or on public holidays,” Minister Keenan said.

“Previously, if you needed help late in the day or over the weekend, factors beyond my department’s control could see several days pass before payments were processed by an individual’s bank. That is no longer the case.

“This is also particularly good news for people in my home state of Western Australia where some banking services require transaction processing to be completed by 3:30pm AEST.”

For more information about crisis payments go to humanservices.gov.au/crisis

Page last updated: 5 March 2019