Thank you for your letter dated 19 May 2011 to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy concerning the independent claims assessment conducted by the department in 2005 regarding claims against Telstra. The Minister has asked the department to review your correspondence and respond on his behalf.
I note you claim you received advice from Senator Barnaby Joyce that the then Government would deliver an independent claims assessment compensation scheme in return for his support for legislation enabling the full privatisation of Telstra.
Following a meeting in 2005 between Senator Helen Coonan (then Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) and Senator Barnaby Joyce, the department was directed in late 2005 to undertake an assessment of the Casualties of Telstra claims against Telstra. The assessment focussed on due process, that is, whether all dispute resolution options had been explored by the complainants, rather than the merits of any particular party’s claims.
The department wrote to claimants and invited them to participate in the assessment. The letter made clear that it was a matter for claimants and Telstra to determine their own courses of action and resolution in respect to individual disputes and that the Commonwealth did not undertake to provide compensation should disputes remain unresolved. I am advised that you were written to on 22 December 2005 and invited to participate, and that you declined this offer in a letter provided to the department on 31 December 2005.
The department wrote to you again on 9 January 2006 to confirm that you did not want to participate in the assessment as your letter indicated a possible misunderstanding in relation to the process for the independent assessment. The department’s letter clarified that the Minister at the time had not agreed to any commercial loss assessment process.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the Minister’s attention. I trust that this information will be of assistance.
Consumer Policy and Post