‘People are scared’: Burnett residents turn to Centrelink
DESPITE the long wait times thousands of people were experiencing at Centrelink across the nation, multiple residents in the South Burnett said it was no different to usual.
Those hoping to obtain financial support lined up outside the building at Kingaroy after losing their jobs due to stricter federal government laws amid the coronavirus crisis.
As a former nurse, Kingaroy resident Craig Davis said he came prepared to wait in line, but only had to wait five minutes to be served.
“This was my first time at Centrelink,” Mr Davis said.
“I saw on the news that we had to wait outside so I brought a chair and coffee.
“I am also a former nurse so I brought a mask, gloves and glasses.
“I was out prospecting for gold near Clermont but obviously didn’t find any so I have had to come here.
“I’ve been here since 7.45am and am about to go in just after the doors opened at 8.30am.”
Another local waiting in line was Christine Maymard, who is a mother of one year old twin boys.
She said she was forced to apply for Centrelink after losing her job earlier this week.
“I worked at the Kingaroy RSL and on Monday morning we all got told it was shutting down and had no work,” Mrs Maymard said.
“I did most of my application online at 4am this morning, but the website crashed, so I had to physically come in.
“I guess we are lucky living in a country area as opposed to a bigger city because the waiting times aren’t as long.
“I used to live near North Lakes near Brisbane and I would hate to see what the waiting times were like there.”
Despite the health pandemic, Mrs Maymard said she hoped people would act kindly during these testing times.
“People are scared and can overreact,” she said.
“I just hope everyone is nice to the people behind the counters at Centrelink.”
Retail assistant at The Commercial Hotel at Kingaroy Daniel Wairau said the business was also forced to close its doors and left many employees without jobs.
“This virus has been devastating to not just myself but also my co-workers and others in the industries that have closed down,” Mr Wairau said.
“However, I would say in Australia we are still lucky we have our privileges for the moment.
“We can still go and get food, alcohol from the drive through and medicine from the pharmacies. We aren’t completely restricted to our homes.
“The reason I am here today is for stability and to make sure my livelihood is safe due to this global pandemic,” he said.
“The Centrelink payments will help me plus many thousands across the country to be more stable during such an unknown time.
“We have it a lot better than some other countries across the globe.”