David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Telstra won’t answer the calls from the Bush

January 13, 2022

The Deputy Leader of the Nationals, David Littleproud has said Telstra’s leadership has turned their back on basic services in the bush putting lives at risk.

“Telstra’s leadership has turned their backs on regional Australia, making them the forgotten Australians and leaving them in a dangerous position,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Telstra is simply putting profits ahead of people with regional Australians left vulnerable to a subclass network and “Telstra is Why”.

“Like the case of an elderly couple on a rural property, in Weir River, in Maranoa.

“Their daughter Louise Parisi said, while her parents were dealing with significant health issues, they had to do so with a failed landline for weeks.

“Even when it was restored, it was such a botched job it only worked intermittently.

“Ms Parisi said that following rain, the landline totally failed again in November. She couldn’t even contact her parents on either Christmas or New Year’s Day.

“So worried was Ms Parisi about the ill health of her parents and because Telstra has failed to provide a reliable landline, Ms Parisi and her brother have had to take turns to travel from NSW to be with them.

“These elderly Australians need a dependable landline in case there is a need for further hospitalisation and their children need the comfort of knowing they can be contacted.

“But this is not an isolated case of Telstra failing regional Australians with serious health issues.

Stanley and Judy Olsen from the Chinchilla area have had problems with their landline since February 2020. The mobile service in the area is unsatisfactory to put it politely.

“Mr Olsen was suffering from both cancer and a heart condition and it was essential he have contact with his Brisbane specialists.

“I have taken their cause directly to Telstra as far back as March 2020 but to date they have not fixed the problem.

“The landline often fails completely when it rains so not only are the Olsen’s distressed because of the health issues, they are at risk during weather events.

“During one of the complete outages, the Olsen’s could not be contacted to be told the news that a family member had suffered a stroke.

“At this very distressing time, their daughter had to call a family friend in the area to deliver the news of the emergency.

“The only real alternative while the landline is so woefully inadequate is for the Olsen’s to have access to a satellite phone provide by Telstra.

“Businesses in the Bush are also being abandoned by Telstra. Dr Viv Perry has a cattle business and grazing property outside of Goondiwindi that relies on the internet.

“The internet service has not functioned properly since 2018.

“In addition, the landline service has had multiple problems and the solution provided by Telstra, a Next G Wireless Link (NGWL) device is so unreliable that customers are told the number doesn’t exist.

“It has resulted in a considerable loss of income for Dr Perry. She can get through flood and drought but getting through to Telstra is now the problem.

“Long on-going problems with Telstra mobile site backup batteries are placing people at risk this severe weather season, in places like Captains Mountain where Norm Chapman brought the problem to my attention in May 2021.

“Mr Chapman is concerned about the safety of his community and took those concerns directly to Telstra as far back as 2014. Telstra have not fixed the problem.

“When these batteries fail, landlines and mobiles cease working, leaving towns and communities without telecommunications. Telstra needs to lift its game.

“The people of regional and rural Australia need help and despite continual representation to CEO Andy Penn directly, the situation seems to be getting worse.

“Telstra is hiding behind national averaging of complaint resolutions that relies on numbers in urban and suburban Australia.

“Telstra needs to answer the calls from the Bush because “Telstra is Why” regional Australians are at risk.”