Indi MP Helen Haines says she is appalled and shocked by the federal government's decision to remove face-to-face Centrelink services in Benalla with only two days notice.
Services Australia announced earlier this year that an 'agent model' would replace the visiting service to Benalla, meaning community members would have to travel 30 minutes to get in-person service at Wangaratta.
Dr Haines said she met with Minister for Government Services Linda Reynolds and understood Services Australia would listen to the Benalla community's concerns, but found out on Tuesday the 'agent model' would be implemented from Thursday without any prior warning.
"Two days' notice without proper consultation shows no respect or understanding of the needs of the people of Benalla for Services Australia services," she said.
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"I expressed my concerns and those of the community to the Minister and understood Services Australia was going to consult with the people of Benalla on a new model.
"Now it seems there was never any intention of actually listening to the community.
"Services Australia clearly had no intention of conducting any meaningful engagement with the people in Benalla who rely on the service."
Dr Haines said she would continue to advocate for the Benalla community to be heard on the future model for Services Australia in the town.
"I am writing to the minister to express my disappointment with the way the community of Benalla has been left out of this important decision for their town," she said.
"This is simply not good enough."
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