More than 280,000 Australians have registered for financial help because of the coronavirus crisis, as 3000 extra staff prepare to start taking and processing claims from Monday.
Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said the troubled MyGov site was back up and running, after two days of outages resulted in long queues at Centrelink branches across the country.
Mr Robert said people were actively being discouraged from lining up outside Centrelink now the website was operational.
There were 2.6 million logons on Wednesday alone, Mr Robert said.
"To put this in perspective, the previous busiest day for myGov was during the July 2019 tax-time period, where the peak was 1.8 million logins in one single day," Mr Robert said.
As of 2.30pm on Wednesday, more than 280,000 people had lodged an 'intent to claim' JobSeeker payments, a new option which allows users to lodge their details with Centrelink without a customer reference number. If the application is approved, the claim will be backdated to the date when the intent to claim was lodged.
This is over a quarter of the one million people Treasury estimated may need government payments to get through the coronavirus crisis already, with further lock downs and job losses expected.
People no longer have to provide separation certificates to claim JobSeeker Payment or have to attend a Centrelink branch in person to receive a customer reference number either.
More than 3000 staff will come on board on Monday to help deal with the demand.
This includes 1500 staff redeployed from other areas of Services Australia and 1500 new hires to work in the call centre and processing claims.
The Morrison government on Sunday pledged to hire an extra 5000 people to handle the unprecedented demand for government assistance.
Mutual obligations reporting has been suspended until March 31 due to the influx, meaning no one's payments will be suspended if they fail to report their activities or attend an appointment.
It comes after Mr Robert wrongly attributed the surge in users that overwhelmed the MyGov website to a distributed denial of service attack. He later said he "jumped the gun".
"My bad [for] not realising the sheer scale of the decision on Sunday night by national leaders that literally saw hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, people unemployed overnight," Mr Robert said.
- For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
- You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
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