No charge for mailed Centrelink statements
Centrelink will not charge people for sending them statements, its minister says.
The welfare agency is trying to cut its paper use and will largely stop using letter post from July. It will instead use its website to share payment information, though customers will still be able to request paper statements if they prefer them.
Victorian Liberal MP Sharman Stone warned that Centrelink would start charging a fee of $3.50 for each letter; a claim repeated by media across the country.
She said the new practice failed to ''consider pensioners who have no computers, let alone any internet experience'', especially those who lived a long way from a Centrelink office.
However, Human Services Minister Kim Carr dismissed her claim yesterday as false.
''Yes, we are modernising; we are determined to ensure the public get the very best service new technology can provide.
''But claims circulating that it will now cost customers $3.50 for a statement are completely untrue. There will be no charge for hard-copy statements to be sent to people.''
He said the agency was also developing smartphone apps and would soon trial ''self-service kiosks'' to provide a simpler, more convenient service for Australians.
''But we are also offering interpreters, case managers and social workers … We are constantly seeking to improve the lives of the people who come to the government for assistance.''