MPs takes aim at Telstra

PAGE MP Janelle Saffin and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker presented a united front against Telstra in Federal Parliament yesterday, with both representatives speaking out against the telco's decision to close its Grafton call centre.

Ms Saffin told the House of Representatives there were multiple reasons Telstra's behaviour was “galling”.

Firstly, that it lacked loyalty as a major corporation which made “big profits” out of regional and rural Australia; secondly, that the telco had stated it was cutting the jobs to improve service – an act she described as “absolute bunkum”, and; thirdly, that she had received a letter from Telstra's chief executive David Thodey, informing her of how the 108 employees made redundant were being offered help by the Department of State and Regional Development. Ironically, this was a link Ms Saffin set up herself, in an attempt to keep the call centre open.

“I wanted to make sure that we tried everything we possibly could to keep the call centre open, that is why I asked the local jobs coordinator to mobilise support available and he has been working with the state department,” Ms Saffin said.

“The behaviour of Telstra is not what I expect ... call centres can operate absolutely anywhere – that is the beauty of them.”

Mr Hartsuyker then spoke in support of Ms Saffin's motion.

“The loss of 108 jobs is a huge issue for any regional centre,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“It affects not just those who have lost those jobs, but also those whose jobs are dependent on the income coming in from those 108 jobs ... there will undoubtedly be further job losses from businesses as a result of this closure when the income from those 108 jobs no longer permeates the economy.”

Ms Saffin will meet with Mr Thodey in Parliament House today to discuss her concerns.

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