On the Centrelink website we quote the definition: “Centrelink is an Australian Government Statutory Agency, assisting people to become self-sufficient and supporting those in need.”
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Centrelink provides and delivers services, and can provide social security payments to the eligible Australians public. In other words, Centrelink will provide you financial assistance or other social services if you qualify.
For example, we arrived in Australia with a some money to set ourselves up for the first three months, for rent, groceries, basic necessities and a car. And in that first three months we had no work income, yet Centrelink ‘paid’ us fortnightly payments for Family Tax Benefit, as we had a 1 year old, the amount was about $185 per fortnight for the one child, above this they provided us with rent assistance of about $110 per fortnight. This really helped towards our initial expenses while looking for work after settling in.
Once one of us (me) started working after three months, we called Centrelink and told them about the job and they altered the Family Tax Benefit to about $30 per fortnight and removed the rent assistance payments as well. Nevertheless Centrelink helped us initially, now we paying it back with our taxes.
So when you arrive and without much money, Centrelink may be able to help you, if you qualify, even if you haven’t worked a day, but you must be honest in letting them know when your circumstances change or you could owe them money !