Page 1593 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 2 June 2021

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point the message changed from, “you are 22nd in the queue,” to just the number 22, and then 21 and then 20. Concerned that the system wasn’t working, she hung up and contacted us. Minister, why did this lady have to wait so long?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Parton for the question, and I am sorry to hear about that constituent’s experience. But as I said earlier, there has been a call back function on this line. I understand that occasionally it has not been working, but by and large people have been able to receive a call back. So there is no requirement for people to remain on hold for a long period of time.

However, we have been really conscious of the fact that there have been long waits, and some people have also been waiting for a call back. And that’s why we are expanding the phone line availability from tomorrow from 7 am to 7 pm, seven days a week. We’ve also put extra staff on. So I can advise the Assembly that yesterday was a record for bookings made, both by phone and online. And so 617 bookings were made via phone and 598 online. So we’re getting close to 50-50.

Call wait times also appeared to be lower, averaging under 10 minutes compared to 20 minutes for previous days, and anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours previously. And the maximum wait time is also now significantly lower as a result of that increase in staffing and the streamlining of the service. So the maximum wait time today—I think that is from yesterday, but it might be from this morning—is 49 minutes.

This is a significant improvement. Of course, we are sorry to hear when people have experiences of waiting on the line, and that is why we have put these extra resources in place and we are expanding the hours of availability.

MR PARTON: Minister, how many additional staff have been allocated to this area, and what is the total number of staff who are taking calls?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I believe I have already taken that question on notice.

MRS JONES: Minister, why does the message suddenly change from, “You are 22nd in the queue,” to 22 or 21 after the person has had a consistent call message for 40 minutes?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I am happy to go and follow that up and come back to the chamber with some answers on that. That is the first time that I have heard that. Apologies if the opposition has written to my office and has not got a response in relation to that matter, but I certainly have not heard that directly from other people I know who have called the line. So I will follow that up.


MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. In the April sittings I asked you a question on the current planning review and when consultation would be open to the community on substantive details. We were pleased that community consultation started in May, but I understand that places are limited

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