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Let Neville know if your pay phone is going.

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Let Neville Know If Your Pay Phone Is Going Monday, 20 February 2006

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville will fight to retain public payphones - locally and throughout rural and regional Australia - and is urging residents who notice stickers on any public payphone targeted for removal to contact his office. Mr Neville has fought several battles to retain pay phones in the bush, including phone-boxes in Ubobo, Mount Morgan, Mount Larcom and Tannum Sands, and said keeping pay phones in small communities was central to Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation. “Pay-phones are vital to people all around Australia, but in particular people in the less populated areas,” Mr Neville said. “I have raised this issue with Telstra, and have been assured that only 1,000 payphones - not 5,000 - will be up for review in 2006,” he said. “What will happen thereafter is unclear.” “Nevertheless, I want to hear from anybody who notices a sticker on their local payphone which indicates it is up for removal,” he said. “This is apparently part of a ‘consultation’ process. So it is important that residents raise the matter if the phone is important to them.” “Councils should also become involved. The Financial Review claims to have documentation which suggests Telstra will try to minimise political and media scrutiny, and consultation with local government.” “When looking at the retention of pay phones, you've got to look at things like whether or not there's mobile coverage in the area, whether or not there's a public safety issue, whether or not it's on a major tourist or isolated transport route where people may need to have access to a phone.” “This isn’t just a matter of company profits - it comes down to providing people with a vital telecommunications service central to public safety.” Mr Neville was behind the mobile phone Black Spot program which has extended the CDMA network throughout regional Australia, and was instrumental in securing the $3.1 billion ‘Connect Australia’ package which will deliver better mobile phone and broadband services and $2 billion to future-proof regional services. Mr Neville’s office can be reached by calling 07 4152 0744, or by emailing