Media release: Australian Government establishes temporary Services Australia Service Centre for Lismore
Senator The Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
The Hon Kevin Hogan MP
Member for Page
The Australian Government has acted swiftly to deliver critical Commonwealth financial support to flood affected communities across New South Wales and Queensland and has today established temporary Services Australia servicing arrangements in Lismore.
Minister for Government Services, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said a new, temporary service centre is being set up at the Goonellabah Community Centre, and will be open from 8.30am today, Tuesday 8 March.
“Given the local Services Australia service centre has been flood affected just as many other Lismore businesses and households experienced, this temporary new site will ensure people in Lismore have access to in-person essential services while the site is restored,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Services Australia has also positioned the Mobile Service Centre, Blue Gum, in Lismore yesterday and today to provide residents with an interim face to face service while the temporary new servicing arrangements were being established.
“We’ve all seen the heartbreaking images of Lismore over the past week, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by these devastating floods.
“I acknowledge and sincerely thank Service Australia’s staff in Lismore, who returned to work to continue supporting their local community, despite also being terribly impacted by the floods, including being rescued and losing their own homes.
“I also acknowledge the hard work and advocacy by local Member Kevin Hogan who has been working tirelessly since the floods hit Lismore to ensure that the region’s needs were being met by all levels of government,” Minister Reynolds said today.
Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, welcomed the decision to quickly establish a temporary new service centre at 27 Oliver Avenue in Goonellabah.
“Given that the permanent Conway Street service centre will require substantial repairs, we have moved quickly to ensure Lismore and surrounding region residents had access to Services Australia’s face to face service channels,” Mr Hogan said today.
Staff in the temporary office will be able to help people claim the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance, in addition to regular Centrelink and Medicare business for those who can’t access online services.
A social worker will also be on site to provide support, counselling and referrals to support services. Services Australia staff will also be providing services from recovery centres as they are established in Lismore and surrounding towns, to provide on the ground disaster support to people in impacted communities.
Services Australia will continue to work with state and local government agencies to understand any additional servicing arrangements needed in the days and weeks ahead.
“Despite being impacted by the flood themselves, Services Australia staff still attended the Southern Cross University and the Goonellabah evacuation centres to support residents,” Mr Hogan said.
Information about disaster assistance payments, including how to claim can be found at servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster
Information about services and support available for flood victims, including state-based support, can be found at recovery.serviceconnect.gov.au
Services Australia’s temporary service centre will be located at the Goonellabah Community Centre at 27 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah NSW, and open from 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday until further notice.
Services Australia’s other on the ground support locations and impacted offices can be viewed at: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/customer-service-changes
The Mobile Service Centre locations can be viewed at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/mobileoffice