Also, when I mentioned something about being charged for the booking he was very clear in saying that because this could not be done online there would be no service charge. Finally, after mentioning this he indicated that this function (i.e. requesting award seat release) would be made available online in the future. He was then very coy when I probed a little further. Let's see what the future holds on this front.
As convenient as this sounds, the cynic in me sees this leading to either less award availability as the benefit becomes widely publicised, or Qantas finding a way to monetise it e.g. cash/points fee for releasing seats. Or both.