Australia Post staff working yesterday at the Casino Mail Centre, which will be picketed by union members during today’s strike action.
Australia Post staff working yesterday at the Casino Mail Centre, which will be picketed by union members during today’s strike action.

Outrage over rumours of Australia Post administering welfare

DENIALS from the Treasurer Joe Hockey's office that there are no plans to have Australia Post take over the front-of-house operations at Centrelink have done little to calm outrage about the idea.

Media reports suggested the newly created Commission of Audit would consider the apparent proposal as it looks to find savings in how it administers welfare.

A spokesman from Mr Hockey's office said there was no specific recommendation or instruction to the Commission to pursue such a project.

The Commission was created last week to consider how to improve the Commonwealth Budget, with outsourcing, job cuts, privatisation of assets and shrinking government all options to be considered.

However, the spokesman would also not rule out the Centrelink changes because the Commission's deliberately broad boundaries meant "everything is on the table" for investigation.

News of the mooted changes were first published by the Australian Financial Review, which suggested major job losses could result if Australia Post began handling parts of Centrelink's operations.

Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh immediately criticised the concept, saying "some of the most vulnerable Australians would be hurt" if the plan came to pass.

His comments were echoed by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

Recommendations from the Commission of Audit are due to be released in February.



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