Local Greens MP and Leader, Adam Bandt, has slammed Minister Stuart Robert’s decision to close the Abbotsford Centrelink this Friday.
“The decision to close one of the country’s busiest Centrelink offices in with just 24 hours notice shows how little the Liberals care about people who are struggling,” Greens Leader and Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt said today.
“In the middle of the biggest ever demand on Centrelink, in an area with more public housing than almost anywhere in the country, the minister gives just over 24 hours' notice that people will be left without a local service.
“Closing a major Centrelink office with just over a day's notice while the country suffers Depression-era joblessness is utter incompetence and a savage attack on people in need of help.
“Before the crisis hit Melbourne had over 7,000 Aged Pensioners, over 4,000 people on Disability support, over 7,000 families receiving support and at least 4000 people on JobSeeker with the number certainly now way higher. On top of this we have many thousands of renters and students who need access to Centrelink services too.
“This is a major centre for people who need government support. When the crisis struck it saw some of the largest queues of people who suddenly found themselves jobless.
“The Minister’s supposed solution for these thousands of people, to walk the 6km all the way over the Yarra to South Melbourne to the next closest option, would be laughable were it not unimaginably cruel.
“Stuart Robert’s excuse that they couldn't negotiate a lease extension or find an alternative site is simply not credible.
"This is not the first Centrelink to be closed this year with a number of other offices around the country slated for closure in February. The governments excuse about leases doesn’t stack up, they clearly are on an austerity drive.
“Any competent Minister should be able to find an office property somewhere in Melbourne.
“The government has snapped back to attacking the vulnerable.
“Stuart Robert must provide a workable solution for the thousands of people who rely upon this service immediately, until such a time that a permanent option is set up.”