The country’s human services department has confirmed the services provided at Warrawong’s Centrelink and Medicare offices will cease at the end of next month – and says a lack of foot traffic is the reason.
The confirmation comes after Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones heard word of the impending closure and vowed to ramp up a campaign to keep its presence in southern Wollongong – an area of high socio-economic disadvantage.
Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen said the “limited range of services provided at the Warrawong Service Centre are consolidating into the Wollongong Service Centre from late July”.
“Existing services at Warrawong are primarily digital. Customers requiring more complex support have always been directed to the Wollongong Service Centre,” Mr Jongen said in a statement to the Mercury.
“The Warrawong Service Centre has seen a reduction in customer foot traffic over the last few years, partly due to the increased uptake in digital services.
“Providing services to the community is the Department’s priority and the consolidation of services, skills and staff in the region will ensure a better customer experience.
Mr Jongen said the department was consulting with the community about the change.
An increasing number of people were opting to do their business online, the department said, including older Australians – with more than 60 per cent of age pension claims now lodged electronically.
The department said there would be no job losses as a result of the consolidation of services, given the Warrawong office was currently run by staff on rotation from other offices. Only one permanent staff member was based at Warrawong.
Residents have been directed to face-to-face services at the following locations:
- Wollongong One-Stop-Shop – 43 Burelli Street, Wollongong
- Dapto Service Centre – 41 Baan Bann Street, Dapto
- Shellharbour Service – Lake Entrance Road, Shellharbour
- Corrimal Service Centre – Cnr Underwood Street & Collins Street, Corrimal