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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14853

Mr NAIRN (1:58 PM) —People may remember that, in the January bushfires, the town of Thredbo in my electorate of Eden-Monaro was cut off from all telecommunications because part of the telephone line to Thredbo was an aerial line, which was burnt out. Following that fire, Telstra immediately tried desperately to go in and put the rest of that cable underground. They put in a temporary cable so that we could get communications back into Thredbo, and they tried to get a permanent cable underground so that it would not be threatened in future bushfires or throughout the winter. Here we are, with snow already falling last week, and nothing has been done. I put out a press release on Wednesday and, miraculously, that afternoon the New South Wales government said yes, it is OK for Telstra to go ahead.

It is too late to put in a permanent line underground—much too late. That should have been done two or three months ago. But Telstra, as much as they have tried, have been mucked around by the New South Wales government for that period of time. They were in there on Friday, once again putting a temporary aerial line in, which will maintain communications—but it is not a permanent line. This is something that the New South Wales government guaranteed Telstra would be able to do when the bushfires were over. They were not able to do it. They have been stopped along the way from putting in these vital communications for the people of Thredbo. The people of Thredbo are very angry that they do not have the security of a permanent line underground. The New South Wales government needs to get onto its agencies and ensure that this can be done. (Time expired)