The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts agreed to an independent claims assessment as part of the full privatisation of Telstra
I, Duncan Rosevear Mcintyre of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Department), public servant, In the Australian Capital Territory, affirm:
In October 2005, following representations made by Senator Barnaby Joyce on behalf of existing and former Telstra business customers and contractors who had disputes with Telstra, Senator Helen Coonan, the then Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (the Minister), agreed to the independent claims assessment scheme as part of the negotiations on the full privatisation of Telstra.
Under the independent claims assessment scheme, the then Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts would undertake an assessment of disputes between Telstra and its existing or former business customers
or contractors to determine the status of these disputes and Identify what further resolution processes, If any were available to the claimants and Telstra to finally resolve disputes that were outstanding.
Some of the individuals who had disputes with Telstra referred to themselves as the ’Casualties of Telstra’ (CoT). The CoT were a group of small business customers of Telstra who claimed that inadequacies in the telephone services provided by Telstra to
them over a prolonged period led to a decline in their businesses, resulting in financial detriment to them.
Other individuals who had a dispute with Telstra included contractors or former contractors of Telstra who alleged breach of contract or unfair practice by Telstra following a decision taken by Telstra to rationalise Its cable layer contracting practices In the late 1990s which resulted in Telstra reducing the number of contractors that it used. Some contracts were not renewed or were reduced in scope by Telstra as a result of the rationalisation deCision and the affected contractors or former contractors claimed that they incurred losses as a result of investments they had made on the expectation of a continuation of existing contracts.