Ministers statements: Telstra

Mr CARROLL (Minister for Industry and Employment) (11:44:52) — I rise to update the house on my conversations with Telstra this morning following their very difficult announcement earlier this morning about the 8000 job losses. I think I speak on behalf of all members in the house today, following the devastating news that Telstra has announced today to the stock market and more broadly the Australian community. I know all local members in this chamber have great relationships with Telstra, particularly with their Telstra Country Wide program, and we deal with Telstra regularly as members of Parliament. Indeed we follow up a lot of constituent issues with Telstra as well.

But I did speak with Telstra group executives today and offered all the support that the Andrews government can offer, from our Jobs Victoria program to our investments in TAFE and indeed to our social procurement program, and I was pleased to hear that Telstra will not be touching any of its corporate social responsibility. But we do stand ready to support these staff.

There are four elements to the program that Telstra took me through today. First and foremost, obviously there will be the structure in the job losses — 8000 — but essentially too they are recruiting another 1500, and we want to work closely with them on that program of recruitment and indeed with their retrenched workers through our Jobs Victoria program and our magnificent investments in TAFE. So we are working very hard on that.

They are also, though, reducing their offer of 1800 plans for their consumers down to only 20. Obviously, with other ministers, including the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, we are very keen to make sure that the elderly and no vulnerable Victorians are affected while Telstra transform the way they do their business. They are setting up a new infrastructure company called InfraCo, and I am very keen to work with them more closely on that.

The final element of their program is in relation to the costs out, and I have tentatively made another appointment with Telstra to meet with them in a couple of weeks to drill down on what we can do in terms of support for retrenched workers and offer every support we can give them.