Website crash adds to Centrelink woes

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Picture: Gary Sissons

CUSTOMERS flocked to Hastings Centrelink in High Street on Monday (23 March) after the MyGov website crashed and they could not access services online.

This meant many had to be there in person to apply for reference numbers for coronavirus payments after losing their jobs. Safe distancing rules seemed to apply.

“MyGov is currently unavailable,” a message on the government site said, blaming a cyber attack (where hackers flood a website with users so that the site becomes overloaded, similar to problems on census night).

“We’re experiencing unprecedented demand for the service right now. We’re working on expanding capacity for MyGov, but we ask people to patient. Please try logging on later today or even tomorrow.”

Mornington Centrelink is slated to close Monday 30 March and replaced by a part-time agency open 15 hours a week. (“Rallying to save Centrelink” The News 2/3/20).

The move is expected to push clients to the Hastings, Rosebud and Frankston offices.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said the change was in response to a “significant reduction in customers visiting the service centre”.

“We regularly review our face-to-face services to ensure service delivery is sufficient to meet community needs,” Mr Jongen said.

“What we’re seeing is people increasingly using different channels to connect with the agency and access services, with the availability and convenience of mobile apps and online facilities.”

First published in the Western Port Times – 25 March 2020

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