Computer glitches that raised more than 70,000 bogus welfare debts and the collapse of the vital weather bureau website are the result of "chronic underfunding" of government departments, the main public sector union says.
The Bureau of Meteorology said it recovered quickly after its main forecasting website crashed for several hours on Friday, as several bushfires burned around the nation.
Now the Community and Public Sector Union says there is a pattern of "computer glitches" emerging across the Commonwealth as cash-starved departments struggle to keep their systems functioning.
The BoM's website was hit with a "physical networking issue" early on Friday morning that prevented updates to its website, with the problems persisting well into the afternoon.
The bureau's supercomputer, one of Australia's largest, is used to give vital weather updates to emergency services, airports and shipping operators.
The BoM said that emergency procedures were in place to communicate severe weather warnings.
In a tough week for federal government service provision, Centrelink blamed a "computer glitch" for 73,000 families around Australia being told they must repay sums of money owed on their family tax benefit accounts.
Have you been tech-wrecked by a government agency? Tell us: email@example.com
One client told Fairfax that he "nearly had a heart attack" when his account incorrectly showed him owing $9000.
In November and December, clients suffered through weeks of disruption to the Centrelink websites used by millions of Australians to manage their payments and report their work activities.
The agency was forced to apologise after weeks of "intermittent issues" left many clients unable to log on to their accounts.
CPSU National President Alistair Waters said there was a pattern of "chronic underfunding" across the federal government and it was hitting departments' ability to provide services.
He said the Centrelink malfunction during the Christmas New Year period was particularly badly timed.
"These computer malfunctions at Centrelink could not come at a worse time of year, given the extra financial pressure many families are under over the Christmas period," the union official said.
"(Centrelink) Workers care deeply about their clients, and our members are sick of governments failing to provide the tools and staff numbers needed to deliver the excellent service the community deserves."
"It's little surprise that customer service standards have eroded so much over recent years.
"The Government has refused to invest in IT systems while cutting staff numbers and turning to an increasingly casual workforce."
Mr Waters said the BoM website crash was also worrying.
"The problems with the Bureau of Meteorology website are also a cause for concern, especially given the important information provided for people facing potential disasters such as bushfires and flooding at this time of year," he said.
"We have members of the government... boasting that the number of people working in the public sector has been cut back to 2006 levels, while ignoring the fact that Australia's population has grown by more than 3 million people who expect decent services from Centrelink, BoM and other agencies."