Thank you Centrelink

March 04, 2012

Don't you hate friends and relatives who you only hear from they want something? I figure that's how Centrelink, Australia's welfare system, must feel about me. I came crying for help straight out of university, then when I was back on my feet they never heard from me again until I moved to Melbourne a couple of years later and needed more support. They didn't hear from me for a long time and probably assumed or prayed really hard that I was dead. But no, I moved back to Brisbane and - surprise, surprise, I rocked up on their doorstep again begging for money.

Most people complain about Centrelink and I understand why (it's every human being's conscious right to complain about being alive) but I'm just grateful there is a welfare system at all. Sure Centrelink has its kinks - like how they misspelled my name and address and while they have finally got my name right, my address is still incorrect after two attempts at getting it amended. Thankfully Australia Post know what Lorriktte means. There's also the 45-minute minimum wait each time I call or go into the office. At least I have good phone reception now and can play Hanging With Friends or Words With Friends while I wait. (Challenge me, my username is: jadestopthat! Exclamation mark included.)

The overall Centrelink experience has improved a lot since I was last on the dole about 5 years ago. The system's modernised so you can now lodge reports online, you get interviewed over the phone when you register and only need to drop into the office for a quick review of paperwork. In my local office they don't even have a reception desk - you wait for a short time in a queue and someone with a headset comes up, finds out what you're here for and if it can't be done online or over the phone (both tools provided in the office) they direct you to the waiting area to see someone in person.

I've been receiving the New Start Allowance for the third time in my life and it's been the most pleasant Centrelink experience I've ever had - mostly because they left me to my own devices to job hunt. Three months, a tonne of written applications and seven interviews later, I have found a new role in the area I want to move into. Starting tomorrow I will be a Web Content Producer for a Queensland government website. It will be informative, intelligent and useful to society unlike this silly blog, which is a complete and utter waste of webspace and readers' time!

Thank you Centrelink for my New Start. May we never speak again! Love, Jade.

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