Statements by Members – The Australian Passport Office

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8 February 2024
House of Representatives

All members have received emails like these from Danielle, Darko and Stephanie, which I received in my office: ‘I’m writing in desperation. My son’s passport, which I lodged four months ago, hasn’t arrived.’

‘I’m a single mum and I feel like my trip is hanging in the balance.’

‘I’ve been training six to seven days a week and I think I’m going to miss my sporting competition.’

Yesterday’s report by the Australian National Audit Office confirms what every member knows—that is, that the performance of the Passport Office has been steadily getting worse.

The Assistant Minister has been asleep at the wheel and, when awoken by the audit report, he blamed his predecessors.

But the audit report tells the story: last financial year one in four passports took more than six weeks to process; productivity in the office has fallen by over half; the cost of producing a passport has risen by 23 per cent over the past five years; the government has kept over $15 million in urgent processing fees, even when the passports weren’t processed on time; and there is no complaints system.

The Minister needs to grab the Passport Office by the scruff of its neck and ensure that the agency is putting Australians first.

All this is happening. Meanwhile, the government is increasing the price of passports by 15 per cent on 1 July. Labor has already hiked up 10-year passports by $38, and they’re going up again on 1 July, by $52.

The Minister needs to awaken from his slumber, stop blaming others, fix the Passport Office and scrap the passport increase.

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