Quicker access to essential services is high on the list of what older Australians want from government and National Seniors Australia is pushing for better connections.
We are urging all candidates to support cutting Centrelink phone wait times and Age Pension processing times. We also want government to provide subsidised internet to connect seniors to essential services and community supports.
Last year older Australians waited 23 minutes, on average, to talk to Centrelink. More than 36 million calls went unanswered and not surprisingly more than 42 per cent of customers were dissatisfied with the Centrelink experience.
Retirees also had to contend with significant processing delays while waiting to receive the Age Pension last year.
This means older Australians are waiting an unacceptably long time to receive basic government services to which they are entitled.
Centrelink funding must be increased so it can better service customers’ needs and meet the expectations of all Australians.
We want the next government to provide an adequate subsidy for those who cannot afford it. This can be done by increasing the Centrelink Telephone Allowance.
Alternatively, government should mandate that a basic low-cost broadband service be offered through the NBN as recommended by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).