Urgent increase in resources to address passport delays
The current delays in passport applications, and the long waits to get in touch with the Australian Passport Office, are unacceptable.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and I are working with DFAT to fix this, by urgently increasing numbers of processing and call centre staff as quickly as staff can be recruited and trained.
To help deal with phone delays, we are standing up a new additional call centre with 35 staff this week and 35 more staff next week.
And a minimum additional 250 staff will come on board over the next six weeks to process applications.
Before the pandemic, there were around 7,000-9,000 applications per day. Recently, that has increased to around 10,000-12,000 per day, with many applications that weren't lodged during the pandemic being lodged now.
Yesterday, the number of applications reached a daily record of 16,417.
This problem was predictable and is the result of the previous government dropping the ball and failing to properly plan for the surge in passport applications when borders re-opened.
It shouldn't be Australians who suffer the consequences of these failures. While it will take some time to get back on track, we will continue to work with DFAT to make sure the required resources are delivered.
I urge Australians who are preparing to travel again to check the latest travel advice on Smartraveller.
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555