House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Statements by Members

Berowra Electorate: Telecommunications

1:44 pm

Photo of Julian LeeserJulian Leeser (Berowra, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On one of the scariest days of summer when Sydney was on alert because of catastrophic fire danger, I checked in on the local fire control centre only to learn that they were without phone connection and were having to stand in the car park to try and get mobile reception. This is metropolitan Sydney in an area that is 10 minutes from Castle Hill and 40 minutes from the CBD. After the February storms hit huge parts of my electorate, we were without phone and internet for weeks with repair dates forever moving into future. An aged-care home was without phones, cutting off residents from emergency services and connection with the outside world.

Now with COVID-19, my electorate has continued to suffer from Telstra's lack of service. Online learning has been a nonsense for families. Teachers have had to drive to community centre car parks and teach from their car. One doctor involved in the planning of the pandemic response was without internet or phone for over a month. Telstra continued to charge him for the service he wasn't receiving even when he protested that the health of his patients was at risk.

For four years I have been foolish enough to believe Telstra when they say that they will fix things but I say to Andy Penn, the CEO of Telstra: you never fix the fundamentals. Telstra has a huge responsibility with their legacy market advantage, so if they don't discharge their responsibilities properly they should be forced to share their infrastructure so consumers have some hope of getting the service they need. I say: enough is enough. Do better Telstra.