In these extraordinary times, it is in the national interest for every company and individual to play a part in ensuring Australia comes through as strongly as possible. With that in mind, we are announcing a range of additional initiatives we can undertake now to help support the broader economy.
COVID-19 is having a profound impact on business across the country. Telstra already has more than 25,000 people successfully working from home and we are supporting many of our customers as they grapple with shifting to working and studying from home.
Supporting Australia’s economy
Firstly, for our people, we will be putting job reductions from our T22 change program on hold. While we will continue to focus on our productivity program to reduce underlying fixed costs by $2.5 billion annually by the end of FY22, we will not announce further job reductions over the next six months.
In fact, we will be adding to our team to help manage call centre volumes and better serve our customers during this time, by recruiting an additional 1000 temporary contractors in Australia.
We are also bringing forward $500 million of capital expenditure planned for the second-half of FY21 into calendar year 2020. This investment will increase capacity in our network and accelerate our roll out of 5G. This will inject much needed investment into our economy at this time.
On top of the existing assistance packages we have made available to our consumer and small business customers, we will also be pausing all late payment fees and disconnections for these customers until at least the end of April 2020 (at which point we will review further). This ensures those having difficulties paying their bill due to the impacts of COVID-19 will remain connected.
We will also be supporting our partners by automatically extending any sponsorships set to expire this year for another 12 months to provide certainty to partners and the many causes we support.
All of these measures are in addition to the others we have already announced, including the provision of unlimited data allowances on fixed broadband and extra mobile data for Telstra’s consumer and small business customers, and extra paid leave for Telstra employees and casuals.
Through these initiatives, we can play our part in the national response to this rapidly-evolving situation.
We continue to look at every aspect of our business to see what we can do for our employees, customers, suppliers and the economy more broadly, while we maintain a focus on long term value creation.
We continue to monitor the situation, while working closely with regulators and the government. Our absolute focus remains on team wellbeing, supporting our customers and playing our part in the national response.