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Your views: on Centrelink call centres and cashless cards, and art deco heritage

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on privately outsourced call centres advising Centrelink recipients, cashless welfare cards and a city building at risk of demolition.

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Commenting on the story: Speaking up: Life at the other end of Centrelink phone calls

There is also another Datacom office in Colonnades Shopping Centre, which is opposite where the old Centrelink office used to be.

I feel so sorry for the staff that work there. Our income support system is pretty complicated so it’s impossible after such a short time training that people will know how the system works and how it all fits together.

These labor hire staff are dealing with some of our most vulnerable people, with minimal training and little professional support. They also get paid around $15-20k less than permanent public service staff – although the cost to taxpayers is more as the labour hire company gets a commission for each staff member they supply.

I worked for Centrelink for 30 years in a local office and am now retired (which is why I can speak out, as current staff are forbidden under threat of dismissal to discuss any aspect of their work in the public domain.)

We deserve a professional, well trained, well paid, permanent public service to deliver the programmes and policies our governments implement.

Labour hire companies don’t and can’t do that. – Helen Chadwick

Commenting on the story: Cashless debit welfare on cards for some Centrelink recipients

If that’s going to come into effect why doesn’t the government veto these companies from charging bloody fees on these insidious schemes they dream up for the so-called betterment of the recipients of said card? – David Wood

If the Government can pay $12,000 just for a company to manage the card it’s a big scam putting money in greedy pockets, and for goodness sake how can the Government say that they can’t afford to raise the pensions if they are prepared to pay a company for doing what exactly? – Nina Dyson

It may or may not be a good idea. What is stopping the recipient of the card buying food with it for someone else and getting paid in cash by that person? People with drug and alcohol problems are very resourceful. – Shelley Lane

I do believe we are having our individual rights eroded away in this beautiful country. When everyone grows up and realises if you have a heartbeat you are the same as the person next door.

In saying this, politically motivated persons only have their eye on what’s in it for me and to control persons in circumstances that they may have no control over due to age or sickness for example. Now to be humiliated and deprived of self-independence as you have been graded as less than able to think for yourself. – Sandra West

That is an absolutely discriminatory approach, disempowering and short-sighted. If one wants to feed someone in long term, one needs to teach him/her how to fish, instead of offering fish. Suggested approach feels like giving those people frozen fish fingers to eat every day. 

The available option of moving to another location, if one wants to keep the cash payments option, feels like a soft version of “stolen generation”, and will create disconnection, more trauma and emotional struggles. It feels like the unhealthy solutions used in not such a far history are employed again, now they are offered in a slightly more civilised manner. 

When will we have leaders who know the true history of this country, learn  from it and have a courage to act to unite and serve all Australians, not only their electorate?Agnieszka Swiatlowska

Utterly appalled at this privatised cashless card that has no quality studies or veracity in showing that it actually assists people who have been forced into it and can’t get out of it and no legal complaints or exit pathway.

This is essential living funds. It’s been a ‘race card ‘ and now targeting anyone on benefits and will create an apartheid system of ‘have and have nots‘ and no choice. It’s another profit grab by private ownership, not any viable aid or benefit to the recipients. It’s unethical and it’s needs to be loudly criticised and stopped urgently. – Nigel Sweeting

Commenting on the story: Lord Mayor calls for at-risk art deco building to be state heritage-listed

This art deco building must be saved. We are constantly neglecting the duty we have to the next generations to save distinctive buildings.

This is especially when the overall site is huge  To make it worse the new building is not a ‘fantastic addition to the city’ at all. It should be mandatory to have a podium on the lower floors in line with height of the Sands and McDougall building and a more slender tower rather than the monolith mid-rise building proposed. – Hans van Bavel

Whilst one can sympathise with those wanting to preserve the state’s heritage, it is time to move on and give the city a contemporary, perhaps even a futuristic look.

Every building proposal should have that as an aim, but also try to incorporate worthwhile features of the past. Adelaide is a nice and well planned city. But it should reach out in its architecture and not simply cling to the past.

Of the two buildings in question, only one deserves heritage consideration. But in the end, that should not stop a major well designed multi-purpose building. – Michael Schilling

I understand that Sands and McDougall was identified in a survey of significant 20th century architecture as a building worth nominating for State Heritage listing some years before the Charter Hall proposal was submitted for approval. 

The time taken to complete the provisional listing is frustrating and indicates that DEW does not have sufficient resources to process applications. However, the provisional listing is not a response to the proposed development.

Regardless of the status of the State Listing for Sands and McDougall, the facts are that the building is already listed as a Local Heritage item and should be protected from demolition as a result, and the Charter Hall proposal does not have an anchor tenant and so has no need for this additional floor area.

Therefore, what is the justification for demolition? – Nicolette Di Lernia

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