State and federal MPs rally behind Stawell Centrelink remaining open

Picture: Peter Pickering
Picture: Peter Pickering

State and federal MPs have rallied behind Stawell Centrelink to ensure it remains open as it negotiates a lease renewal for its office.

Northern Grampians Shire Council voted against discussing the issue during its urgent business section on Monday night last week.

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said there were no plans to close the Stawell Centrelink service centre.

“The Department of Human Services regularly reviews the make-up of our face to face service delivery network to ensure we are meeting the needs of the community while providing the best value to the taxpayer,” he said.

“The department is currently negotiating a lease renewal for the site to maintain all existing service delivery arrangements for the residents of Stawell.”

Mallee MP Andrew Broad said he would not support the office closing.

“When the Stawell Gold Mines situation unfolded I approached Minister Alan Tudge and recommended that no further changes happen in Stawell,” he said.

“As it stands it is just talk, but it would not have my support if it were to happen.”

Western Victoria MP Jaala Pulford said the possible closure of Centrelink was the last thing the Stawell community needed.

“Should this important service close, it will be a major blow for a town that is already doing it tough,” she said.

“I call on Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals to ensure that this vital service remains in Stawell.”

Ripon MP Louise Staley said it would be a disappointing development if the Stawell Centrelink closed.

“The closure would mean people would have to go to Ararat or Horsham, this is a long way for the people who attend Stawell’s Centrelink to have to travel,” she said.

Stawell has suffered job cuts to two companies after Stawell Gold Mines made 150 jobs redundant in December and Used Tyre Recycling Corporation dismissed four workers in January.