Telstra removes Tannum beach phone booth
By REN LANZON and KRYSTEN BOOTHbooth@gladstoneobserver.com.au
TELSTRA has been accused of putting lives at risk by removing its phone booth at Tannum Sands beach.
The criticism comes from people who should know ? the Tannum Sands Surf Life Saving Club.
Yesterday its president Tony Davis said no-one seemed to be aware that the telephone booth would be removed.
'They just took it away without a word ? Telstra may have a reason for doing it, but they didn't tell us anything,' he said.
The decision was savaged by Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, who said Telstra's decision could threaten lives.
'Anyone who's been down to the beach there will tell you that mobile coverage in that area is not good,' Mr Neville said.
'At a beach where there are a lot of water sports, there should be access to a public phone.'
Mr Neville said the decision was a scathing indictment on the company.
'I can't believe that any company that was in touch with the community could make a decision like this,' he said.
'Telstra's conduct on this occasion was completely unacceptable.'
Telstra Country Wide Gladstone and Wide Bay regional customer service manager Sandra Williams acknowledged more effort should have been made to communicate the decision to stakeholders.
Ms Williams said stickers had been placed in the phone box three months before its removal.
She said the phone box had been removed because of continued vandalism.
Calliope Shire Council chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said Telstra's performance was 'par for the course'. Mr Kanofski said the council was not informed about the phone's removal by the Tannum Sands Life Saving Club.
'It was absolute news to us,' Mr Kanofski said. 'We're normally consulted about these things, but not on this occasion. We think it's absolutely poor form. 'We've had plenty of struggles with Telstra in the past so this is nothing new.'
Mrs Williams said Telstra would meet with the lifesaving club and the council in coming weeks to discuss the phone being returned.