Centrelink adopts real-time urgent welfare payments
Centrelink has switched to a new real-time digital payments platform to allow the provision of instant emergency welfare payments.
The platform was developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia in collaboration with major financial institutions, and has been in testing by the Department of Human Services over the past six months.
It allows money to be instantly transferred into a recipient’s account. Previously, batch file processing delays resulted in a processing time of 24 to 48 hours.
The system was used to deliver $2.2 million in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments during the recent Townsville floods.
According to reports, the platform is also being used to provide instant emergency assistance funds to victims of domestic and family violence, in order to encourage victims to seek help.
“The Coalition is committed to ensuring our welfare system is properly equipped to support those experiencing severe hardship and this new platform will ensure help is always at hand, even outside of normal banking hours or on public holidays,” Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said.
“Previously, if you needed help late in the day or over the weekend, factors beyond my department’s control could see several days pass before payments were processed by an individual’s bank. That is no longer the case.”
Keenan noted that the development will be particularly welcome in his home state of Western Australia, where some banking services require transaction processing to be completed by 3:30 pm.
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