The Federal Government needs to permanently reinstate Mornington’s Centrelink office as the region’s workforce continues to be belted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to Mornington Peninsula Mayor Sam Hearn, who said that while he welcomed the Government’s decision to grant a further six-month extension to Mornington Centrelink, he feared the economic and social impacts of the pandemic would go well beyond March next year.
Cr Hearn said news that the Centrelink/Medicare service centre in Main St would remain open until then would come as a relief to the many residents who used the service, and he thanked Flinders federal Liberal MP Greg Hunt for his work in securing this extension.
“This is a crucial support for our community, and to close it in the middle of a pandemic would have been disastrous. Having that extra six months will ease concerns about the inadequacy of the new agency service that has been set up to replace the centre.”
However, Cr Hearn said the Peninsula had suffered one of the heaviest hits to employment in the state as a result of the pandemic, with close to 6000 job losses, a 21 per cent fall in gross regional product compared with a 6.9 per cent drop for Australia overall, and an 11 per cent drop in employment opportunities. “We fear the economic and social impacts of this period will go well beyond March. We will continue to advocate for Services Australia to permanently reinstate the Mornington Centrelink office.”