A Federal Government decision to close a major Centrelink outlet in inner-Melbourne on just 24 hours notice has already been reversed, providing customers with a temporary 3-month stay.
Yesterday it was revealed that Centrelink’s Abbotsford office was set to close at the end of office hours today, giving staff and customers just 24-hours notice prior to the facility folding.
Today however it’s been confirmed that that decision has been put off for the time being, with Government officials reaching an extreme eleventh hour deal with the building’s landlords.
In a short statement issued late this afternoon, Services Australia officials asserted “The landlord of the Yarra Service Centre in Abbotsford, advised Services Australia through its legal representative on 12 May 2020 that it will not agree to any lease extension beyond 22 May 2020. The current legal position stands as the landlord’s notice to vacate instructs Services Australia to vacate the premises by 22 May 2020.”
However they then noted that officials today received “an offer via text message to allow an extension to the lease for three months.” They are now reportedly awaiting a written offer of the lease extension.
Greens MP Adam Bandt hailed the reversal as a win for “community pressure” on social media a short time ago.
BREAKING: A huge win!!!
Community pressure has forced gov backdown and Abbotsford Centrelink won't close tomorrow!
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) May 21, 2020
Services Australia had previously asserted that people who ordinarily use the Abbotsford office should instead transfer to the South Melbourne location, which lies a rather impractical 6.1km away.
All building closure and operations merger information that was previously present on the Yarra Services Office page on the Services Australia website has disappeared. And it would appear that things are set to remain business as usual.
For the (very) short term, at least.Image: AAP