We investigate complaints about Australian Government agencies including Centrelink – Department of Human Services.

We are independent, impartial and our service is free.

It is important that you read the information below before you make a complaint.

What we do:

  • We can investigate complaints about Centrelink.
  • We consider all complaints but not all complaints proceed to an investigation.
  • We will always contact you in response to your complaint and give you reasons for our decisions.
  • We may suggest other options available to you.
  • We can make suggestions and recommendations to Centrelink about a better way of doing things.

What we cannot do:

  • We cannot investigate every complaint we receive about Centrelink.
  • We cannot advocate for you or give you legal or similar advice.
  • We cannot direct Centrelink to take action or change a decision.

If your complaint is about a Centrelink debt, please read our factsheet about Centrelink’s online income data matching system.

If you want Centrelink to change a decision, you can ask for a review. Almost all decisions can be reviewed, for example, if Centrelink:

  • says you owe a debt
  • rejects your claim
  • does not agree to back-pay you
  • reduces, suspends or cancels your payment.

If you disagree with a decision by a Centrelink Authorised Review Officer, you may be able to ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decision.

Before you complain to us

You should try to resolve the complaint with Centrelink before you contact us. This is usually the fastest way to resolve a complaint.  If you cannot get through to Centrelink on the phone, we suggest contacting Centrelink online or in writing.

Allow Centrelink 10 business days to respond to your complaint. If you are not satisfied with Centrelink’s response to your complaint, you can contact us again.

Always ask for a Centrelink ‘complaint reference number’. We will ask you for this if you contact us again about your complaint.

How to make a complaint to us

Contact us if you are not satisfied with Centrelink’s response to your complaint.

If you can, use our online form to submit your complaint.

You can also call us on 1300 362 072.

If you are hearing, sight or speech impaired, you can contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 1300 362 072.
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 362 072.
  • Internet Relay users connect to the National Relay Service then ask for 1300 362 072.

What happens after I make a complaint?

We will decide if your complaint is about something we can investigate. If we cannot investigate your complaint, we will explain why.

When we receive your complaint, our staff will contact you. Depending on your preference, this will be by phone or email. We may ask you to provide extra information.

With your consent, we may contact Centrelink to explain or transfer your complaint. We will ask Centrelink to contact you within five working days to try to resolve your complaint.

If we decide to investigate we will ask Centrelink questions. If Centrelink has made a mistake or something is clearly wrong, we can ask Centrelink to fix it.

For more information

Visit our publications page for Annual Report information, facts, advice, brochures and more.