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Fury after previously-banned customer allegedly stabs Centrelink worker



An urgent review of security at Services Australia centres will be conducted after a Centrelink worker was allegedly attacked while working in Melbourne's north yesterday.

Joeanne Cassar, 55, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after she was allegedly stabbed in the upper body while working at a Centerlink branch at Airport West at about 1.30pm.

Her family are seeking worker's compensation and considering further legal action against Services Australia, claiming the alleged incident should have never happened.

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The review will be led by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton, and will seek to prevent and deter future incidents.

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said he was "shocked and saddened" by the serious incident.

He visited the Airport West office this morning, where he offered support and told staff that their welfare was his main priority.

Team leader Cassar was allegedly attacked by a former customer who had been previously banned.

"I could have lost her," Cassar's husband Andrew Giusti told 9News.

"She could have died or she could have ended up in a wheelchair. I'm mad as hell with what has happened and it shouldn't have happened."

Arnold Thomas Becker lawyer Allanah Goodwin told 9News it wasn't good enough.

"Joeanne deserves to feel let down," she said.

"People deserve to be safe at work. From what we understand, in this case Joeanne was actually proactive."

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According to police, the accused, 34-year-old Elijah Chase, was told to leave the branch yesterday morning.

They say Cassar locked the door, initiating a screening process for each customer, to protect her staff.

It's claimed she was ordered to open the doors.

Police allege the accused returned at about 1.30pm and stabbed her.

"She laid in that position in a pool of blood until I got there, which was about 25 minutes later," her husband said.

"She said to me 'thank god it was me and not one of my co-workers'."

"I got down on the floor and I talked to her and told her I was there and to hang on."

The accused appeared in court and did not apply for bail.

9News understands this wasn't the branch's first brush with violence, with another worker assaulted 18 months ago in an unrelated incident .

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