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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Page: 158

Senator Brown asked the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, upon notice, on 18 November 2004:

Given that: (a) according to the Yellow Pages section of the Sensis website, there are ‘14 million directories delivered free every year to virtually every home and business in Australia’; (b) in some cases, several directories are delivered to the one home or business; (c) on-line directories are available as an alternative to printed versions; (d) many directories are never used; and (e) each directory uses resources and energy for its production and delivery: Will the Government, as the majority shareholder in Telstra or through regulation, require Telstra, through its directories arm Sensis, to attempt to reduce the numbers of Yellow Pages directories circulated to those that are actually needed by the community.

Senator Coonan (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(a) to (e) Telstra has advised that delivery of the Yellow Pages® print directories is driven by consumer, business and advertiser demand. While the Yellow Pages® OnLine site continues to grow in user numbers, consumers and businesses still rely on their Yellow Pages® print directories. Telstra believes the usage rate of the print directory and advertiser demand continues to support the current distribution model.

In most non-metropolitan areas around Australia, the Yellow Pages® directories are co-bound with the White Pages® directory. To ensure that excess copies are not delivered to those customers who receive multiple copies of the Yellow Pages®, the actual numbers of directories required is confirmed at the time of delivery.

Telstra further advises that Sensis Pty Ltd has a number of initiatives in place to reduce the environmental impact of its directories. These initiatives include the following:

  • Reducing the amount and weight of paper used in directories.
  • The paper currently used in Yellow Pages directories has between 40 and 85 per cent recycled content.
  • Sensis complies with the National Packaging Covenant (NPC), a voluntary program under which signatories commit to reduce the environmental impacts associated with packaging.
  • More than 90% of the Australian population have access to directory recycling services, most through kerbside and commercial paper recycling services. Information on recycling is contained in the front of directories. More than 67% of old directories were recycled by the Australian community in 2003.

Although Telstra is partly Government owned, it has been an independent corporation since 1991, and subject to the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 and the Telstra Corporation Act 1999. Accordingly, Telstra’s Board and Management are responsible for the day-to-day running of the company.