Senior staff from the Department of Human Services told Senate estimates on March 2 that the average wait time to speak to a Centrelink operator is 14 minutes and 10 seconds.
But with reports of some people waiting more than an hour, 28 million busy signals so far this year, and welfare recipients being encouraged to go online rather than speak to someone, this doesn’t match with most people’s experiences of calling Centrelink.
This is because what’s not included in the reported wait time is probably more important than what is.
We’ve created this graphic – based on new data from 2015-16 calls confirmed by the Department of Human Services – to explain what’s really going on when Centrelink says its wait time is under 16 minutes. And you can read an analysis piece by Paul Henman on the issue here.