Project Blackbriar: Is this the Centrelink call centre contract?
Advertisement

Project Blackbriar: Is this the Centrelink call centre contract?

A call centre company that has already worked for the tax office and Bureau of Statistics is shaping up as the likely winner of the new Centrelink contract.

Stellar Business Process Outsourcing has told staff it has won a new contract that will see it open a new 600-seat call centre in West Perth.

A multinational call centre operator looks the likely winner of a new Centrelink contract.

A multinational call centre operator looks the likely winner of a new Centrelink contract.Credit:Paul Harris

Staff were told the client couldn't be named for confidentiality reasons, but the project "has an extremely fast ramp up".

"In the meantime we will be referring to this as Project Blackbriar," a company update said.

Advertisement

Job advertisements for multiple roles at the new West Perth centre require staff to be Australian citizens and undergo a background check.

In April the government announced it would put on an extra 1000 people at a Centrelink call centre through a private contract to decrease wait times for people trying to contact the agency.

The new contract follows an earlier call centre contract worth $51.7 million awarded to Serco last year. When the plan for a new contract for 1000 operators was announced in April, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said it would not result in the loss of jobs within the public service.

Nearly 1300 positions were cut from Human Services in the May budget.

The Department of Human Services would not comment on whether Stellar had won the contract, and the company itself didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

Stellar currently has a $50 million contract with the Australian Tax Office and has already completed a $101 million contract with the tax office. The company also won contracts worth more than $10 million to run the call centre for the 2011 census for the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This new contract has been reported to be worth at least $200 million.

The main public sector union has labelled Stellar a "money-hungry multinational" and called for the jobs to be filled by permanent Human Services staff

"All the signs are there that this massive expansion by Stellar is the next phase of the Turnbull Government’s sell-off of Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support. That means the Turnbull Government is once again putting corporate profits before people, with a decision that means low paid, insecure jobs with inadequate training that inevitably has an impact on service standards,” Community and Public Sector Union deputy secretary Melissa Donnelly said.

"There should be no place for Stellar and existing DHS call centre operator Serco to profit from essential public services," Ms Donnelly said.