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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13362

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (10:50): I would like to take this opportunity to share the frustrations that many of the residents in my electorate currently face with Telstra refusing to update any of the infrastructure in suburbs that are currently lacking access to quality internet. Upper Coomera resident Elizabeth Warburton runs a small mortgage-broking business from home and relies heavily on the internet for her work. She uses the internet to keep in contact with customers and she conducts work through an internet portal for information and application processing. She uses email for liaising with banks, solicitors and clients and she also receives leads through a website and Facebook page.

She has run the business for 15 years and recently moved to a new home where, unfortunately, there are no ports available for her to access broadband. A loyal Telstra customer for more than 15 years, Elizabeth has rung them to sort the matter out but was told that she could not be hooked up to the internet and to call every couple of weeks to see if a port would be made available. In the meantime, Elizabeth continues to use wireless internet, which is more than double the price you would pay for normal broadband, as well as relying on friends' and colleagues' internet access to assist her with work. On top of that, Elizabeth is dealing with expensive phone bills for having to resort to using the internet on her phone. With no answers or resolution in sight for Elizabeth, and Telstra refusing to offer her any further assistance, she no longer requires their service. To rub salt into the wound even further, Elizabeth has since received a letter from Telstra saying how disappointed they were to lose her valuable business and asking for feedback as to why she left.

While the three-year NBN rollout is a terrific project that will connect more than two-thirds of premises in Forde, there are many people whose homes do not currently have access to the internet and who have begged Telstra to install ports in their area so they no longer go without. Telstra are refusing to spend any money on the infrastructure that is desperately needed now. This is poor form by Telstra and there are already petitions underway in my electorate for residents and businesses who are tired of being ignored and treated as second-class citizens by Telstra. Residents like Elizabeth are fed up with Telstra's lack of assistance. Telstra need to stop dragging their feet and start serving their loyal customers, not only from my electorate of Forde but around Australia, to allow businesses to keep running and employing many Australians.