Telstra hangs up on call for help

Telstra chief executive David Thodey has ignored a plea by Lismore leaders for help after announcing the closure of the Goonellabah call centre
Telstra chief executive David Thodey has ignored a plea by Lismore leaders for help after announcing the closure of the Goonellabah call centre

A JOINT appeal by Federal, State, and council politicians asking Telstra to help the Northern Rivers after putting 116 people out of work has gone unheeded.

Read the correspondence:

Page MP Janelle Saffin, Lismore MP Thomas George, and Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell had made a joint appeal to Telstra boss David Thodey, asking the telco to make a $3.4-million investment in digital infrastructure to compensate for the impending Goonellabah Call Centre closure.

However, in a joint statement, the politicians said they were "underwhelmed" at Mr Thodey's response.


Telstra CEO David Thodey in Canberra to discuss the call centre closure.
Telstra CEO David Thodey in Canberra to discuss the call centre closure.

"David Thodey is not offering anything extra to the Lismore district and we are disappointed but not surprised given the ease with which he can change the lives of more than 100 local people so dramatically," the politicians said in a joint statement.


"We had approached Mr Thodey in good faith and were hopeful that our request, based on a detailed consultant's study which identified gaps in telecommunications infrastructure in the Lismore area, would be given serious consideration.

"We asked Telstra to make a significant additional investment in new fixed and wireless networks and in retraining for affected workers, but Mr Thodey maintained that planned infrastructure upgrades will provide customers with enough coverage and that redundancy packages are adequate.

"We asked for a partnership between Telstra and Lismore City Council to run a two-year program to increase the use of broadband by local businesses, but Mr Thodey referred us to NBN Co and the Australian Government's general educational programs.

"The only concessions from Telstra are its sponsorship of a jobs market which was already taking place at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre next Friday (October 19) and an agreement to consider allowing equipment in the call centre to be reused by another business if a new tenant can be found for the site.

"We have decided to release to regional media outlets all correspondence around our request to Mr Thodey for a digital infrastructure investment, so that the local community can get a clear indication of this corporation's level of commitment to the regional city of Lismore."

Topics:  goonellabah call centre, janelle saffin, jenny dowell, telstra

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