Keeping Our Telecommunications Companies in Check

By Julian Leeser

Over the last year, I have been campaigning for Telstra to do a better job of servicing our community.

Last month I announced the great news that the Government has committed to $16.4 million to establish the Peri-Urban Mobile Protection Program (PUMP).

This program is designed to encourage telecommunications companies to step up and provide reception in outer-metropolitan disaster-prone areas like ours.

But the truth is, this great program won’t fix all the problems we face. For decades, we have grown used to bad service from Telstra and sometimes from other telecommunications companies too.

In the coming months, I will be introducing a bill to the Federal Parliament that will try to put new regulation on telecommunications companies. After years of those companies failing to regulate themselves properly, we need to do more to force them to improve their standards. I want to see a situation in which:

• We can trust the coverage maps phone companies advertise.
When we go to a shop and ask if we will have service at home, or work, or at our child’s rugby game, we should get a truthful answer. My Bill will seek to punish companies who advertise reception that doesn’t exist.

• When phone lines go down, they are quickly repaired.
Last year, my office spoke to Telstra almost daily to try and help people who were waiting for months for their phone line to be repaired. Companies should be obligated to fix phone lines more quickly.

• No one pays for service they don’t receive.
Too often we receive bills from phone companies even when we haven’t been able to use our phones for most of the month. This needs to change.

For too long the telecommunications sector has remained unchecked and reform is needed to ensure Australians get the service they need and deserve.