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Welfare users should be 'triaged': Labor

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Centrelink offices around Australia have been inundated with people attempting to register for the Jobseeker allowance in the wake of business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Centrelink's online portal crashed for the second day in a row as tens of thousands of Australians sought welfare after losing their jobs due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Labor's government services spokesman Bill Shorten says people in the long queues forming outside offices should be triaged.

They should be given preliminary forms and directed to phone or online services if they can to ease the strain, Mr Shorten said on Tuesday.

At the same time Government Services Minister Stuart Robert admitted the government hadn't planned for so many people logging on to get unemployment benefits.

The site crashed on Monday after it was overwhelmed by almost 100,000 Australians now out of work as a result of the coronavirus shutdown, many of whom were making their first approach to Centrelink.

Mr Robert apologised for claiming MyGov had been hacked when it had actually crashed due to the number of people logging on.

Mr Shorten also suggested a callback option from Centrelink as well as a separate hotlines for existing and new users.

Centrelink will boost its workforce by 5000 people to deal with the influx of applicants and extend call centre hours.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre was being called in to help investigate the stability of the site, with 123,000 accessing MyGov on Tuesday morning.

© AAP 2020