The Federal government has announced a radical shake-up to the Australian welfare system with Centrelink to be abolished and replaced by social security vending machines.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said the move towards automated welfare could save Australian taxpayers more than $40 billion per year.
“People already go to ATMs for their banking and use vending machines to buy soft drink and cigarettes. Doing social security transactions through vending machines is an obvious and convenient next step that the government predicts will be embraced by everyday Australians.”
The details of how the vending machines will work is still to be revealed. However, Mr Andrews said the machines would be quicker and friendlier than dealing with Centrelink and that people would have just as much chance of being paid as is currently the case.
Union groups have attacked the government’s plan, claiming it places more than 30,000 jobs at risk. Mr Andrews said that it was too early to quantify the extent of any job losses.
“Obviously we will need people to fill the vending machines and fix them if they break. But I’m not sure if we will need 30,000 people to do this. So, yes, there may be be some consequent organisational efficiencies in the areas of employment and staffing.”
“But, on the bright side, anyone who loses their job will have improved access to social security services due to our new vending machines.”