Recent media reports claiming the Huonville Service Centre in Tasmania will close are wrong and the department is concerned that this misinformation is causing local residents unnecessary distress.
The department remains committed to providing face-to-face services to Huon Valley residents. To clarify, we are in discussions with Service Tasmania to potentially share office space in the building we both occupy, as the area we currently lease no longer meets the needs of the people we serve.
There would be no reduction in the current Centrelink services available to local customers; in fact, by co-locating with Service Tasmania we would actually be able to extend our opening times by an extra 90 minutes per day.
The area our staff would occupy would be clearly signposted, and customers would be greeted by a Centrelink staff member, as they are now. Our self-service PCs and phones would be separate to Service Tasmania self-service facilities, and screens would be erected along the service counter so our staff can conduct private conversations with our customers.
There would be no changes to our current staffing levels. Despite CPSU claims to the contrary, the number of staff at Huonville offering face-to-face services has not changed for a number of years and customers in this region enjoy some of the shortest service centre waiting times in Tasmania.
We appreciate that some people – particularly those with more complex queries – prefer to conduct their business with us face-to-face, and this friendly help and support will still be available. Accessing online services has always been about personal choice. We are constantly improving the range of services available through our online channels, as many people prefer the convenience of doing their business at a place and time to suit them. Our Huonville Service Centre also offers self-service terminals and free Wi-Fi for those who want to do their business online but may not have a computer or the internet at home.
We remain committed to supporting the Huon Valley community with both their day-to-day business and when people need us.