Benalla in good hands with services agent
I want to reassure the Benalla community that the new Services Australia Agent, at 85 Nunn Street, is offering face-to-face assistance to access government services five days a week, from 9.30am to 3.30pm. The Agent increases the hours of local support and provides a permanent presence in the community. This is a great improvement on the previous part-time visiting service, which was only made possible by Services Australia staff travelling from Wangaratta. The visiting service has been unavailable since the start of the pandemic in 2020, so we reviewed our options and determined an Agent would best meet the community's needs. This is why we've moved to get the Agent service open as soon as possible. While COVID restrictions impacted our ability to engage face-to-face with the community recently, back in March 2021 we publicly announced our intention to establish an Agent service and informed local member Dr Helen Haines. Over the past few months we conducted a comprehensive and transparent Expression of Interest process to identify a suitable Agent host. This was advertised in April and finalised in late June. Our Agents successfully support communities in some 350 regional locations across Australia. They are more than just access points. In addition to providing access to self-service facilities, Agent staff receive training to provide direct assistance to help people access Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services. Services Australia staff will make regular visits to the Benalla Agent to ensure it is meeting community needs. Benalla will also be a stopping location for our Mobile Service Centres, with the next visit planned for July 8 and 9. While some 80 per cent of our Benalla customers are already using our digital and self-managed services, we will be hosting two free digital learning events to introduce these options to customers not already using them. For more information about these events and to make a booking to attend please call (03) 5723 4279.
Hank Jongen, Services Australia general manager
Pixelated sign serving no purpose
It might pay to have the Visual Message Board (VMS) aka mobile illuminated sign working and not pixelated when crossing the Murray River into Victoria when travelling on the Lincoln Causeway, if the intention is to inform drivers of the COVID-19 current restrictions, otherwise it serves no purpose.
David Solomon, Albury
Flag figures just don't add up
So 227 people out of 250 people encouraged to make a submission to Albury Council are against the installation of flagpoles to fly the Aboriginal flag on Monument Hill. A figure cited in headlines as "over 90 per cent oppose new flag poles ..." and "mass objections".91 per cent of Albury's local government total enrolment (36,004 in 2016), is 32,763 people.227 opponents to the flagpoles represents 0.63 per cent of the Albury local government total enrolment. As Mark Twain wrote, "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics".
Dianne Thomas, Albury
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