Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash has requested that Centrelink open a mobile service centre in Sussex Inlet in the wake of the Deans Gap bushfire which threatened the town last week.
Ms Gash, who is also Gilmore MP, has today written to Minister for Human Services Senator Kim Carr with the request.
Centrelink’s mobile service centres perform all the tasks of an ordinary Centrelink office, as well as process Medicare and child support payments.
The Deans Gap bushfire raged out of control for almost a week before it was finally brought under control on Sunday. The blaze destroyed more than 9000 hectares and posed a threat to the South Coast communities of Sussex Inlet and Wandandian.
Ms Gash said the mobile service centre would relieve some of the stress placed on residents in the area.
“As we are all aware, the Deans Gap bushfire has drastically impacted the communities of Sussex Inlet, Swanhaven, Cudmirrah, Berrara and Wandandian over the last seven days,’’ Ms Gash said.
“From isolation due to extended road closures, all the way to home evacuations, many residents of Sussex – especially the more than 1000 elderly, may be feeling shaken from the experience.
“Sussex residents face more than a 40 minute drive to reach the nearest Centrelink or Medicare office, and at times like these, both the community and all levels of Government must help to make things easier anyway they can.’’
Further information on Centrelink’s mobile service centres can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/mobile-service-centres.