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Alston's Telstra Priority Assistance debacle.



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MEDIA RELEASE

LINDSAY TANNER MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

ALSTON’S TELSTRA PRIORITY ASSISTANCE DEBACLE

Despite being months overdue, Senator Alston’s new Telstra Priority Assistance scheme is still riddled with problems.

Whilst Labor welcomes any moves to improve Telstra’s methods for identifying priority assistance customers with life threatening conditions, the following Alstonesque debacle has emerged.

The Australian Medical Association have refused to endorse the scheme because of concerns over the number of people who would have access to the scheme, concerns that the legal liability and cost of the scheme has been shifted from Telstra to doctors and further privacy concerns about patients health information.

Looking at the fine print of the scheme one finds that Telstra has reserved the right to charge customers found to be ineligible for priority assistance where they have incurred costs.

Telstra also advises that doctors may charge priority assistance applicants a fee to complete the medical certification section of your application form.

Telstra’s web site states, “Telstra does not guarantee the service levels detailed in the Telstra Priority Assistance brochure. Further, the service levels set out below are not guaranteed under the Customer Service Guarantee arrangements.”

As with all Howard Government arrangements - check the fine print.

September 17, 2002

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner or Peter van Vliet on (02) 6277 4428 or 0408 188 055.