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Monday, 6 September 1993
Page: 997

(Question No. 460)

Senator Alston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications—With reference to Telstra Pty Ltd, upon notice, on 21 July 1993:

  (1) What was the number of equivalent full-time employees as at 30 June 1993.

  (2) What was the number at 30 June 1991 and 30 June 1992.

  (3) What is the target number of equivalent full-time staff for:(a) 30 June 1994; and (b) 30 June 1995.

  (4) What amount was allocated for redundancies and retrenchment packages for 1992-93 and what amount was actually spent.

  (5) What proportion of total costs did labour and other associated costs amount to in: (a) 1990-91; (b) 1991-92; and (c) 1992-93.

  (6) (a) What reduction in employee numbers was anticipated for 1992-93; (b) what reduction actually occurred; and (c) what are the reasons for any difference.

  (7) (a) Why did the 1992 annual report include no information on total staff numbers when previous Telecom annual reports did; (b) who made the decision to remove this information from the annual report; and (c) will the next annual report contain this information; if not, why not.

  (8) What criteria does Telstra use to determine whether information on its activities are commercial-in-confidence and who authorised Telstra to use this criteria.

Senator Collins —The Minister for Communications has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question, based on advice from Telstra Pty Ltd:

  (1) The number of equivalent full time employees as at 30 June 1993 is not available as this information is considered to be commercially confidential.

  (2) The number of equivalent full time employees as at 30 June 1991 was 82,110. The number at 30 June 1992 is not available as it is considered to be commercially confidential.

  (3) Staff numbers at any point in time will be determined by Telecom's total business needs. Any planning for work-force changes is both commercially and industrially sensitive, and therefore, targets are not provided.

  (4) The amount allocated and actually spent for redundancy and retrenchment packages are commercially sensitive. I do not propose to publish them in Hansard.

  (5) The proportion of total costs for labour and other labour associated costs is as follows:

  (a) 1990/91—27.4%

  (b) 1991/92—27.1%

  (c) 1992/93—26.9%.

  These figures do not include payments for redundancies.

  (6)(a) The reduction in equivalent full time employee numbers anticipated for 1992-93 was 8,000.

  (b) The reduction that actually occurred was 7,107.

  (c) The variation is mainly the result of some employees electing to defer redundancy acceptances until the new financial year.

  (7)(a) Total staff numbers were not included in the 1992 Annual Report because the set of information previously published, of which staff information was part, was considered to be commercially confidential.

  (b) The decision not to include this information was made by the Board of Directors.

  (c) The 1993 Annual Report will not include this information for the same reason.

  (8) The criteria for determining whether information is commercial-in-confidence is broadly speaking whether the information has commercial significance or worth in the hands of others. There has been no specific decision to use this criteria but rather it is based on the Board's responsibility to pursue the commercial interests of the company.