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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3601

Mr Haase asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 18 March 2009:

In respect of the contracting of Visionstream to install communication infrastructure: why is there a delay of up to four months to reconnect existing telephone numbers in pre-wired offices in the Port Hedland and Broome areas of Western Australia.

Mr Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) —The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

The Australian Government is not privy to any contract Visionstream may have to install communication infrastructure for pre-wired offices in the Port Hedland and Broome regions of Western Australia.

There are a number of businesses supplying telecommunications services and Visionstream may have a contract with one of these businesses.

The Government would encourage individuals and businesses considering purchasing telecommunications services to investigate the range of services and providers that may be available to them. If any particular small business or individual consumer experiences difficulty in obtaining a telecommunications service promptly they may wish to discuss the matter with their telephone company, including whether they are entitled to compensation under the Customer Service Guarantee, and/or the provision of an interim service. If individuals or small businesses are unable to resolve the matter they should seek the assistance of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Part 2 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 requires the Primary Universal Service Provider, Telstra to take all reasonable steps to ensure that standard telephone services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis wherever they reside or carry on business. Telstra’s Standard marketing Plan (SMP) sets out how Telstra will meet its obligations under the USO. The SMP provides that where a site is not readily accessible to telephone network infrastructure that Telstra can use, or where Telstra does not have access to sufficient capacity on existing infrastructure, Telstra will aim to supply the standard telephone service within 20 working days from the date of the customer’s request, or on a later date if requested or agreed to by the customer. The SMP also provides that where Telstra expects extensive delays it will offer the customer an interim service.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has broad powers to penalise Telstra if it breaches the USO. If Telstra has not satisfactorily met its SMP, ACMA can be contacted by phone on 03 9963 6800, via email to or by writing to:

Industry Monitoring Team

PO Box 13112

Law Courts


Individual consumers and small business in the Port Hedland and Broome areas may be entitled to financial compensation under the Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee) Standard 2000 (CSG). The CSG provides that telephone companies must pay financial compensation to customers where certain minimum performance requirements are not met. Minimum standards under the CSG include the time within which new services must be connected; faults must be rectified; and appointments must be kept.

The CSG only applies to consumers with five phone lines or less. If a carriage service provider supplies a customer with more than five eligible telephone services at one time, the carriage service provider is exempt from complying with a performance standard in relation to the supply of each of the services.