Poll Results: Dealing with Centrelink ‘easy’ say majority of respondents

While many respondents have described applying for JobKeeper and JobSeeker support as difficult and confusing, the majority of participants in our latest poll say the process is easy.

The majority of ArtsHub readers who have applied for JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments report finding the process easy, according to our latest reader survey.

The poll, which run from 14-17 April, asked readers: Are you applying for government subsidy as a result of COVID-19?

In total, 1,235 people completed the poll, with the majority of respondents (26.1% or 446 people) saying they were applying for JobKeeper support.

A further 22.8% said they were applying for JobSeeker support, while 27.2% (336 people) said they didn’t need to apply for government support of any kind.

The majority of poll recipients – 40.6% (82 people) of those applying for JobKeeper support and 33.6% (50 people) applying for JobSeeker support – reported finding the process easy.

However, just over a quarter (25.2%) of JobKeeper applicants reported the process as confusing, while 20.8% of JobSeeker applicants reported the application process as difficult.

Read: JobKeeper payment for sole traders: what you need to know

The source of confusion was not always down to navigating Centrelink’s bureaucracy, with one JobKeeper applicant telling us: ‘Eligibility was uncertain, I waited a month before the board of [our] company were able to commit to nomination.’

The unique aspects of working in the creative industries have also let to a lack of clarity for some applicants, with one poll respondent telling us: ‘Registered about three weeks ago but have not heard anything from anyone since. Still don’t know if I’m eligible – I’m a writer & my income is project or word based not month by month.’

Another JobKeeper applicant said: ‘I still haven’t found out if I actually qualify. The small design business I work for cannot afford to pay me the subsidy out of their own money, so I am facing two months with no pay.’

Read: How to apply for JobSeeker payments from Centrelink

Other were more directly critical of the JobKeeper application process, describing it as a ‘long winded application system’ in which ‘Every step is difficult’.

‘There are screeds of information from many sources on how to apply but not where to apply. It all comes down to a simple form that will take about three minutes to complete but the convoluted steps to arrive at the form are immense,’ one respondent said.

Our earlier polls explored your views of how the Federal Government should prioritise its spending, and how creatives are adapting their arts practice during lockdown.

Our latest poll goes live today (Friday, 24 April) and asks the question: ‘How can ArtsHub support you during COVID-19?’

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts