After suffering though the WorkChoices Hotline last week Crikey has been told that the Melbourne WorkChoices
call centre has been shut down, apparently because of a lack of public interest about the new workplace changes.

Last week one call centre operator told Crikey
that the government was preparing to shut down at least one of the
call centres early because operators were
receiving only a few calls every hour in a 100 person plus centre.
Government spinner Ian Hanke denied that they had any plans to shut
down any of the call centres when we spoke to him on Friday, but
apparently workers were given notice on Thursday that their
services would be no longer required as of Friday.

We called Hanke today, who told us he still knew nothing about it, but
said he’d find out. We haven’t heard back, although we’re sure he’s a busy man.

And now that our source is out of a job, we can publish the “Trigger
Words” document we referred to in Friday’s edition without having to
worry about anyone getting fired.

Meanwhile Crikey reader David writes:

It seems last night’s IR ad theme was the fact that there is to be an Office of
Workplace Services. Having missed the logic of having a new agency when there’s
already a Department of Workplace Relations and the Office of Employment
Advocate I rang up the 1800 number to ask what the difference between this new
office and the OEA is. The operator had no idea and his “big database” (as he
put it) also did not contain the answer. He didn’t even know what the OEA is nor
what the new Office of Workplace Services was supposed to do but offered me a 16
page booklet (which he admitted didn’t have the answer to my simple question in
it) or the email address of the Dept. Given every ad I saw last night mentioned
its existence in assuring tones (something else he didn’t know) this shows a
severe lack of training of call centre staff and another example of spin before
facts. In discussion with the operator – who said he was based in a Canberra
call centre – he said surprisingly that they had been busy that night with 90%
of callers just wanting the booklet. I also couldn’t help but ask whether he was
on penalty rates – he said yes!