18 October 2021

Braddon Centrelink Service Centre set for December closure

| Max O'Driscoll
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Braddon Centrelink

Braddon Centrelink will be merged with the Gungahlin office. Photo: File.

The Federal Government confirmed on Friday (15 October) their anticipated decision to close and not replace the Braddon Centrelink Service Centre with another site in Central Canberra. Instead, the facility will be merged with the Gungahlin shopfront in December.

The “merger” will mean existing customers of the Braddon office will be moved to the Gungahlin site for their Centrelink service. The Gungahlin site is 20 minutes away by car or 30 minutes via public transport. The influx of people to the Gungahlin site will also likely impact its regular users.

Services Australia has stated that no jobs will be lost as a result of the Braddon closure.

The public was made aware that the Braddon site would be closed when the office space was initially advertised for lease online in July. Minister for Government Services Senator Linda Reynolds suggested at the time that the uptake of digital services such as MyGov and Express Plus had led to the face-to-face service in Braddon becoming inessential.

READ MORE What clients say about the looming closure of Braddon Centrelink office

Federal Member for Canberra Alicia Payne has been outspoken on the importance of the community having access to a face-to-face Centrelink office in Central Canberra. She expressed her disappointment with the “vital service” being closed down and, in particular, how the decision has been presented to the community.

“There has been zero community consultation around this decision and zero consideration about what this means for users of the Braddon shopfront,” said Ms Payne.

“While it’s true that many people deal with Centrelink online, Centrelink’s own rules require people to visit a shop front for certain interactions.

“With unemployment rising in the last month and the pandemic far from over, it is unbelievable that the Morrison Government would rip away this critical support from Canberrans,” she said.

Ms Payne used the closure of the Braddon service as evidence that the Morrison Government is “out-of-touch” with the impact of the pandemic on employment, acknowledging the 138,000 Australians that lost their jobs last month according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Ms Payne is not yet ready to give up in the fight to save the service and encouraged affected community members to write directly to Senator Reynolds and Senator Zed Seselja, and sign the petition available on the Member for Canberra’s website.

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Capital Retro9:55 pm 19 Oct 21

A decision made by people who have never used Centrelink’s services and who will never have to.

ChrisinTurner3:20 pm 19 Oct 21

It is interesting that our governments promote densification while at the same time moving government services away from the dense areas.

To be fair, the ones primarily promoting densification int his case (ACT Gov) have zero to do with the decision to move Centrelink.

This is going to be a disaster for so many vulnerable people who live in the city and it’s closer surrounds. I know for a fact that there are elderly people who cannot operate in the online world and are also not physically well enough to travel the distance by public transport to Gungahlin. There are also many people who have English as a second, third or fourth language and even people who cannot read who need the face to face interaction.

This is a mean and miserable decision that makes the Centerlink service in Canberra go from bad to worse. Probably happening in other parts of Australia.

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