Telstra CEO gets message
ALTHOUGH Telstra rang the final death-knell for its Grafton-based call centre almost a month ago, outrage from the public and from community leaders continues to simmer.
This outrage came to a head yesterday when Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, personally met with Telstra CEO David Thodey in Canberra to discuss the call centre closure.
Ms Saffin said although the telco was unlikely to be swayed on the decision, it was still a good opportunity to present Mr Thodey with the impacts of their decision.
“It’s clear that Telstra have their mind made up,” Ms Saffin said.
“I said to him that to say to us that they were consolidating to Brisbane and Melbourne was a real slap in the face; they weren’t just closing it, it was that some jobs would go to Brisbane and Melbourne and I said to him that was the worst insult.
“I also put before him some of the personal circumstances of some of the 108 families involved that he wouldn’t have heard and I said ‘you know, you’re having a real impact on their lives’.”
Joining Ms Saffin and Mr Thodey in the meeting was Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson via telephone who informed Mr Thodey about the impacts the closure would have on the local economy.
“I spoke with David Thodey this afternoon and reinforced the position that the announcement of the loss of 108 jobs has gutted our community and that it would add half of one per cent to our unemployment rate.” Cr Williamson said.
“I also invited him to the Clarence to see and understand first-hand what the impacts of his decision would be on our community.”
According to Ms Saffin, Mr Thodey said he would take her and Cr Williamson’s concerns on board. Yesterday’s meeting came after Ms Saffin and Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker presented a united front on the issue in the Federal Parliament’s Lower House on Monday where both MPs expressed their concerns about the issue to the chamber.