A SIX-MONTH extension to the lease will allow Centrelink and Medicare offices in Mornington will remain open in their present form.
The offices at 332 Main Street had been slated to close on 27 March and replaced with a private, part-time agency to run over 15 hours three days a week. (“Centrelink shutdown” The News 11/2/20). The new agency was expected to “complement” existing services run out of Rosebud, Hastings and Frankston offices.
In a welcome turnaround, Flinders MP and health minister Greg Hunt said the lease extension would create certainty for Mornington Peninsula residents “through both the health and economic implications of the coronavirus outbreak”.
“This is not a once-in-a-decade or a once-in-a-generation challenge,” he said. “We are currently facing a once-in-a-century event.”
Mr Hunt said he had “continued to fight for our community for services to remain in Mornington – first through an agent service, now through the continuation of the service centre through the coronavirus outbreak”.
He said the effects of the coronavirus would not just be felt in hospital wards and emergency rooms but that “the economic impacts of this disease will tragically effect people’s jobs and their businesses”.
“The level of challenge we all face over the coming months cannot be understated,” he said. “This six-month extension will ensure locals can get face-to-face assistance five days a week. Services Australia is rapidly increasing capacity both online and in person with 5000 additional personnel being added to the workforce.”