Michele Lees, Jenny Keane and Marylin Hastie have been working at the Centrelink Tweed Heads Call Centre for all of its 10 years.
Michele Lees, Jenny Keane and Marylin Hastie have been working at the Centrelink Tweed Heads Call Centre for all of its 10 years. Crystal Spencer

Call centre celebrates 10 years

FROM dealing with families in need to offering support to those affected by natural disasters, Centrelink customer service advisor Michele Lees has done it all in 10 years.

The Tweed Heads Centrelink Call Centre, which has grown from just 40 employees to 270 over the years, will celebrate a decade of service this week.

The first phone call was answered on March 13, 2000, at the original office site in Blundell Boulevard, Tweed Heads South. The service is now located in Enterprise Drive.

Staff will celebrate with a party and a ball on Saturday.

The Boxing Day tsunami was just one of the incidents that Ms Lees and colleagues Jenny Keane and Marylin Hastie responded to at the Centrelink Tweed Heads Call Centre.

Manager Darren Sprott said besides their work with families, employment services, youth and students, the call centre doubled as a hub for calls placed to hotlines set up for emergencies, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

“We have the infrastructure and the people available. I remember when the Boxing Day tsunami happened I got a call about 6am telling me to get people into work,” Mr Sprott said.

“About 80 of us dropped everything to lend our help on the day. We were the first in Centrelink to help out.”

The centre also responded to calls for people seeking assistance with the Black Saturday bushfires last year and the Bali Bombings in 2002.

“These lines can stay open for weeks at a time. At the same time we were still offering our normal Centrelink services,” Mr Sprott said.

Team manager Mrs Hastie said she has witnessed a lot of change in her 10 years.

“I still remember our first day here when the paint was still wet,” she said.

10 years in the making

10,000,000 calls have been taken by the Centrelink Tweed Heads Call Centre.

Employees Brian Rowsell and Jordan Rant were Customer Service Advisor of the Year recipients in 2004 and 2006.

The Tweed Heads call centre was named the NSW Industry Call Centre of the Year by the Australian Teleservices Association in 2005.



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