For one thing, I’ve been completely neglecting my blog. Of course, I still have no idea why I’m writing a blog with the exception of being told several times You should write a blog and having no reason as to why I shouldn’t.
But, as of Tuesday this week, I no longer have any paid employment. This is at the end of a fairly significant issue I have had with Centrelink (and any Centrelink employees may choose to stop reading here) that has lasted since January this year.
In chronological order, I had a job in October last year when another employer approached me and offered me a role that was 160% payrise. Of course, I chose to take the role, only to find out that once I started the role as described was very different from the role I would be doing, and the organisation was not exactly organised. I also had enough experience and skills to threaten the employment of my immediate supervisor, who then felt it necessary to blame all her shortcomings on me. So, long story short, after a 2 week enforced vacation over the Christmas break – for which I wasn’t paid – the organisation decided they no longer required my services.
So, I did the best thing I could and called Centrelink to explain my predicament. They decided that having no income for a month was no reason as to why they should speed the process up, and organised an appointment for me in a fortnights time. Knowing a little about the process, I asked if it would speed the process up if I arranged an SU1 (Employment separation certificate) from my employer. They advised me that they would do that on their end. In short, I was to wait for my appointment.
So, having no income, I went and found the first paying role that I could, realising that no money is a rather dull place to be.
Come the day of my appointment, I had a message on my phone bank advising me that there was no need for me to attend my appointment, as Centrelink had not received my SU1 form. I also had a message saying that they would call me that afternoon to inform me of when I would have an alternate appointment time arranged.
That was the last contact initiated from Centrelink. January 24th, about 30 minutes before my appointment.
Two weeks later I called into my local Centrelink office, not relishing an hours wait on hold to the contact centre, and they advised me, after a 30 minute wait in line, that I would need to call the contact centre as they had no record of my application on system.
I then called the contact centre. After an hour on hold, I was advised that I needed to go into the Box Hill CSC (an ironic acronym for customer service centre) for them to process my application. I gave up at that stage, as I had some part-time work, and figured I’ll hopefully end up with full-time work shortly.
After going through around 6 employers in a short period, I found out earlier this week that I was again completely unemployed. I decided that my first call should be to Centrelink, and given I have had no permanent work in the intervening period, I would like to take up my previous application for payments again.
Centrelink advised me that as they had approved the last application – the first I had heard of this – and advised me of this via mail – again, the first I had heard of this – that I would need to start the application again. I could, however, escalate this as a complaint to an ARO (Authorised Review Officer) who would review my case and respond within 24 hours.
Three days later, I received a letter from Centrelink stating that my complaint had been overturned and that I could, if I chose, put it through to an ARO. Given I had already done this, it seemed odd that I had to do it again.
The hold time this time around was not as bad as usual, but the end result is that I had an appointment with the Box Hill CSC on the 11th July, and an ARO would contact me within 7 days.
I’m glad I live in a country where I don’t have to rely on a major government department to do what they say they will do, and that the highest point of appeal is within the same department.
Speaking of which, does anyone have any work going?