Services Minister Stuart Roberts told reporters that the country's myGov site had gone down due to a DDoS attack, according to The Guardian, which turned out to be a misconfigured alarm system triggered by a surge in users.
As thousand of Australians suddenly face the prospect of being forced onto Centrelink during the coronavirus pandemic, the MyGov website which provides online access to the service crashed due to "unprecedented demand".
Mr Shorten said the minister must do better.
A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack is where hackers overload a website by flooding it with traffic until it's overwhelmed and shuts down.More news: Coronavirus found on Diamond Princess surfaces 17 days later
Earlier, Mr Robert insisted the website was "fine" despite people being unable to access it.
"At present there are delays, we don't give a running commentary on delays".
The Government is also doubling dole payments as it seeks to cushion the economy from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
Opposition frontbencher Bill Shorten said the unprecedented demand was "entirely foreseeable".More news: N.Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles: Yonhap
Government Services Minister, Stuart Robert, claims the site is fine but can not cope with the unprecedented demand. Yet for people who have never received a Centrelink payment before, they are required to go into a physical office in order to obtain a Customer Reference Number (CRN).
Right across the country, there are long queues snaking around blocks outside Centrelink offices.
One woman wearing a surgical mask said she had been waiting outside the Chatswood Centrelink office in Sydney's north for half an hour after failing to get through on the phone since Friday.More news: The first one-on-one debate between Biden and Sanders