The Weekly Advertiser

Benefits: More humanity please

By DEAN LAWSON
Let’s choose a cliché. How about ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’? Or would ‘too many irons in the fire’ be more appropriate?
From simple observation, both seem to fit when trying to explain why there seems to be a long list of headaches over the federal process of passing on benefits or helping the average individual or family.
While accepting that the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services has the biggest and most difficult task in the country, it is also worth acknowledging that it also has the most important role.
It therefore seems mad, on the surface at least, that every conceivable issue involving Joe and Jill Average is thrown together in a convoluted mix where an obvious by-product is community confusion or dissatisfaction or both.
We don’t for a minute suggest there are any easy formulas in assessing how someone qualifies for benefits.
But with such diversity in human issues, ranging from how much money people earn or how many children they support, to if they are a pensioner, tertiary student or come from a socially disadvantaged background, putting everything in one melting pot is hardly the right way to go.
Regardless of advances in technology, it remains far from good enough for someone desperately seeking help or information from a government agency to be told, after waiting in a queue or on the phone to see or talk to someone, to ‘look it up on our website and follow the prompts’.
It is also below par to instruct people from a distance to wade through a paper trail where any simple human error based on ambiguous direction can lead to months of non-action or start-again instructions.

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=13562

Posted on Jan 30 2013

Posted by on Jan 30 2013. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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