THE Federal Government has confirmed it will establish a new call centre to help alleviate the massive delays in travellers completing passport applications.
An additional centre will initially boast 35 staff from this week, with a further 35 more to be added from next week, with a minimum extra 250 employees to be added over the next six months to address the current delays which are stifling travel plans for many Australians.
Welcoming the news today, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Dean Long said the decision was well overdue relief for both travellers and travel agents.
“The additional delay in approval and delivery times for both new applications and renewals has created significant stress for travelling Australians and travel agents,” Long said.
“Our members have been dealing with a rapid uptick in bookings from the moment the international travel ban was lifted, and while we have consistently advised throughout the past couple of years that anyone with less than six months on their passport should start the renewal process, many Australians decided to let their passports lapse until they could travel again.”
Long lamented that for some, the non-arrival of their passport within the stated timeframe has meant rescheduling, and in some cases, cancelling trips.