After being on hold for 3 hours collectively for 4 phone calls, which cost us over $60 , plus a previous trip down to the Springwood office where a lady attended to us and was very nice although did not give us all the correct information ( hence the further phone calls) my husband made another trip down yo the Springwood office today. The younger man who attended my husband accused my husband of being angry although he did not raise his voice . My husband went on to explain that he was not angry but was frustrated at what we have had to contend with. He also attempted to get the man to listen and understand why my husband was feeling frustrated and what had happened to him. The man was unwilling to listen. I must also note that within a space of a few minutes this man was unable to give my husband the correct information which the next man who attended to my husband was able to give in the same office only minutes later. I can only assume that the first man has some personal issues and is maybe not in the suitable career for himself.
I believe that some staff members may benefit from a course in humanity studies. Not every person who comes into Centrelink is uneducated or trying to play the system. We have only made a claim once before when we had our first child 21 years ago and I had to leave work. We both have worked hard all our lives and payed taxes. It was very hard for us to turn to Centrelink as we are both very honest people and want to try and make it on our own. We both are educated and I have studied post grad . We both consistently give money to numerous charities and never cheat the system.
So why did we ask for centrelines help. I a m still working. The company my husband was working for closed down . He then decided to go into his own business which is showing promise but is still young. He he first started his business the person he worked for used him and didn't pay him. The companies he now deals with are young in NSW and still can't provide adequate work at this time but will be able to in the future. He took a career change after having a heart attack at the age of 46. We have daughter who has a mental illness who doesn't live at home but we still support her when we can and pay for her medication which is expensive because it isn't on the PBS.
We have another child who has a mystery illness that requires specialist appointments although he still leads a normal life. Recently my husbands father has just had a serious tumour removed from the base of his spine which requires a few months stay in hospital and my husbands mother has early stage dementia. Theses are not all the things we have had to deal wth over the past two years.
With all these things in our lives we are still functioning normally and with compassion to others. I am only giving you these details because I feel it is important for the young man and others like him to not judge people without the facts. I also wonder although cannot prove if there was some racism involved as my husband is of mixed culture and sometimes is mistaken as middle eastern descent even though he is not. Maybe it would have been better if I came in as I am a blue eyed blonde obviously of western descent. This is of course speculation but I have noticed a tendency to judge a book by its cover at Centrelink. We have observed that if we dress casual that we are treated with mild disdain compared to a more semi casual attire.
It is important that all staff learn that people have a right to be treated with equality regardless of their appearance, circumstance, education, IQ level or race. It is depressing enough having to ask for assistance without being incorrectly judged. Some people have severe anxiety or depression and being treated badly can lead to drastic actions such as suicide. You have a responsibility when dealing with people in such sensitive situations to be understanding and compassionate. I have no idea what sort of qualifications are required to work at Centrelink but many be a course in humanities or psychology would be appropriate.
I truly hope you learn from this and maybe your compassion can change someone else's life for the better.
Regards Maria Arnett
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In 2006, there were 17,306 persons usually resident in Springwood: 48.5% were males and 51.5% were females. Of the total population in Springwood 1.0% were Indigenous persons, compared with 2.3% Indigenous persons in Australia. more
81.6% of persons usually resident in Springwood stated they were born in Australia. Other common responses within Springwood were: England 6.3%, New Zealand 1.3%, Scotland 0.7%, Germany 0.6% and Netherlands 0.6%.
54.9% of persons aged 15 years and over usually resident in Springwood were married, 27.9% never married, 10.2% separated or divorced and 6.9% widowed.
93.2% of persons usually resident in Springwood were Australian citizens, 15.4% were born overseas and 0.3% were overseas visitors.
* statistcs taken from the 2006 Census for postal area 2777 conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics