Student Sophie Baker outside Centrelink at Maroochydore waiting in queues of at least 30 minutes.
Student Sophie Baker outside Centrelink at Maroochydore waiting in queues of at least 30 minutes.

‘Scary’ time ahead as hundreds hit unemployment line

HUNDREDS of residents have hit the unemployment line at Centrelinks across the Sunshine Coast, desperate to get their share of the government's stimulus relief package amid rising coronavirus control measures.

Hospitality workers, dental assistants, students, marketing and hospital staff all stood in long lines at Maroochydore Centrelink this morning with "20 minute" waits just to get inside.

Centrelink's MyGov site has also crashed.

MORE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST HERE

It comes after the Federal Government announced stiff social controls to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Clubs, pubs and restaurants closed at midday and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state would close its borders.

In the line was young dish washer Jarvis Ostrofski, 18, who has been out of work for a fortnight having been let go from his job at The Wharf Mooloolaba.

Hospitality worker Jarvis Ostrofski, 18, was let go from popular Mooloolaba restaurant Riceboi and has been out of work for a fortnight.
Hospitality worker Jarvis Ostrofski, 18, was let go from popular Mooloolaba restaurant Riceboi and has been out of work for a fortnight.

"My last shift was two weeks ago and I was sent home," the former Riceboi and Spiro employee said.

"I'm just using Centrelink until I figure out my next move.

"My dad is a plasterer so he might be able to help me out but I don't know."

Another in line was Laura Wood, 23, who worked at a school camp which has closed for a "minimum of seven months".

"Our work will be non-existent for seven months and they said to go out and look for other work," Ms Wood said.

"Schools are scared so they shut down, so I really need Centrelink to help me until I find something.

"But there's not much out there.

"I have applied to a bunch of places but haven't heard back."

Her friend Sophie Baker, a TAFE student studying business administration, said she had no idea whether or not she would find a job soon.

"Our teachers say we will shut soon, it's just a matter of when," Ms Baker, 21, said.

"It's all day by day, we have no idea what will happen."

June Rick also stood outside Centrelink at Maroochydore with his young son Javier while his wife applied for Medicare.

Mr Rick, who works at Buderim Private Hospital, said being exposed to sick patients for his job had been a "scary" time since the virus broke out.

"Not knowing if a patient is a carrier is very difficult," Mr Rick said.

"I work a lot at night and it's been quite demanding because there are a lot of patients at the moment.

"We are very full.

"My wife will be at home with our son, so she can't work."

 

Young couple Tom and Ash Bennett are both out of work and struggling to pay the rent because of coronavirus control measures.
Young couple Tom and Ash Bennett are both out of work and struggling to pay the rent because of coronavirus control measures.

Young couple Tom and Ash Bennett are both out of employment indefinitely and said they "100 per cent" supported the stimulus package.

Despite the uncertainty, the pair were positive in line at Centrelink this morning, a mood matched by the majority of the line.

"That's about the only thing you can do, take it on the chin and get on with life," Mr Bennett said.

"Both of our employers made the call to do the right thing and shut down.

"We are renting at the moment so need to find out what options are available."

Also in line was Buderim's Jacinta Bittle, 19, who said she quit her job in child care because she "just didn't want to do it anymore".

A spokesman for Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said MyGov was working but "the best option right now is for people to be patient".

"There is unprecedented demand for the MyGov service right now, but we ask Australians to be patient as we work hard to help them all," he said.

"Try logging on later today or even tomorrow."


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