When former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell first announced the launch of Service NSW centres, he said longer opening times would “make it easier for people to do their business with Government at a time that suits them”.
Three years on, and you’ll be doing that business at a time that suits the Government instead.
The Penrith branch of Service NSW on High Street will have its trading hours cut back to 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday, from the original 7am to 7pm.
The centre will remain open on Saturdays between 8.30am and 3.00pm.
However, there is added confusion over the new opening hours as the Service NSW website lists different new trading hours to the revised sign at the front of the High Street centre.
State Member for Londonderry, Prue Car, said the reduced trading hours will mean over 60 per cent of Penrith’s working population will miss closing time.
“For a large percentage of our working population who leave home early and get home late each day, Service NSW will now be unavailable to them,” she said.
“People who leave home at 7am and get home at 6pm will not be able to access the Penrith Service NSW Centre.”
She said the reduction of opening hours will add more pressure to staff at Penrith, just one month before the St Marys RMS is due to close on October 24.
Ms Car also fears the move to cut costs will result in staff lay-offs to a service she said has already brought in $91 million to the State Government.
Member for Penrith, Stuart Ayres, defended the Government’s decision, and denied there will be staff cuts.
“The new opening hours will have no impact on current staff numbers and all staff will continue to be rostered according to their contract hours,” he said.
He said the decision is about moving staff to work parts of the day where the customers most need them.
“The Penrith Service Centre will remain open from 8.30am to 3pm on Saturdays, when demand remains strong,” he said.
“The revised weekday opening hours follow a detailed examination of customers which showed that across the Service NSW network more than 94 per cent of our customers visit our service centres within the new revised hours.”