We’ve all witnessed the confronting scenes of bushfires around the country, and awed at the heroic volunteers battling the blazes. Today we’re doing our part to thank our volunteer firefighters by providing them with free mobile bills over December and January.
We understand how important it is to reach out to friends and family during times of crisis, and we want to do all we can to help.
In addition to the assistance packages that we always make available to our customers during emergencies, we wanted to also ensure that Australia’s volunteer firefighters are supported as well.
This new assistance package means that we will cover the cost of mobile phone bills for volunteer firefighters over the period of December and January.
Our Assistance Package is available to all volunteer firefighters registered with the official volunteer fire services within their state, such as the Country Fire Authority (CFA), the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), and the Rural Fire Service (RFS). The package is also available to Farm Fighters. Farm Fighters are farmers with personal firefighting equipment/units who support their community when under threat from a bushfire.
Update: 6 January 2020 – We have now extended this assistance package to all State Emergency Services volunteers (or equivalent official Emergency Service organisation of that state) that are directly supporting the bushfire efforts. This includes volunteers supporting the current bushfire working with – the Victorian State Emergency Service, New South Wales State Emergency Service, Queensland State Emergency Service, South Australian State Emergency Service, Tasmanian State Emergency Service, Tasmanian State Emergency Service, Australian Capital Territory State Emergency Service, the Northern Territory Emergency Services and in WA – the West Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Local Government Bushfire Brigade.
Additionally, if an eligible volunteer has a Pre-Paid mobile service via Telstra or Boost they can instead receive 10GB of prepaid data and free calls with a 30-day expiry to their nominated Pre-Paid service number.
We want to do this to show our thanks to firefighters for their efforts in helping keep communities safe.
Firefighter volunteers should contact Telstra on 13 22 03 when convenient to register for the free calls over December and January.
We hope this will ease some of the burden, particularly as many of these firefighters are defending their own communities.
Meanwhile, we’re continuing to offer our assistance packages to customers in the bushfire affected areas of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
We are also helping all Australians stay in touch by making our payphone network and associated Telstra Air hotspots (where available) free until further notice. You can read more about that initiative here.
We’ve been working alongside our emergency services personnel in fire-affected areas since they first started in late October last year. We’re currently working with emergency services personnel in Victoria and NSW to restore services as quickly as possible.
We’re doing everything we can to get these communities back up and connected as quickly as possible, but given the horrific conditions we have seen over the past few days, this may take some time.
In some cases, adverse conditions and road closures are preventing us from safely reaching some areas. This is the result of either fires damaging our infrastructure, or loss of power to our sites.
We have hundreds of our employees working closely with teams on the ground to support the response to these disasters, and ensure our teams have access to areas of need as soon as they are deemed safe to enter, or under escort.
Restoring service to these affected areas is our highest priority and our thoughts are with all of those who have had to endure terrible conditions and loss.
Customers who have had to evacuate their home, or have sadly lost their home due to the bushfires should also call 13 22 03 to register for the assistance package.
Our relief packages can include the following:
Short term measures (for Telstra customers who have a short-term impact – temporary evacuation of premises or temporary fault):
- Free use of Telstra public payphones in the affected areas
- Free use of Telstra Air payphone hotspots in the affected areas
- Free call diversion from an affected fixed home or business phone service to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of the carrier
- Customers who use the free call diversion to divert their affected fixed home or business phone to their Telstra mobile service can also make local and STD® calls on their mobile at fixed-line rates, in accordance with their selected plan (limited to one designated Telstra mobile per affected household or business.
- Affected Telstra mobile customers who do not have a Telstra home phone can receive a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).
The above offers are applicable until network damage in the area due to fire is repaired, or while customers remain evacuated, for a maximum period of three months from the date of the fires.
Long-term measures (for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage to or loss of their premises):
- Free call diversion from the customer’s Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier. This offer is applicable for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of the fire.
- In addition, Telstra will apply a one-off credit to the value of $500 inc. GST to the customer’s Telstra fixed phone account to help cover the costs of the following, if required: Connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at one temporary residence
- Re-connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at the customer’s original permanent premises
Andrew Penn, CEO