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IDAHOBIT Day 2019: we can all play a role as champions for diversity

Sustainability

Posted on May 16, 2019

4 min read

Since 2004, May 17 has stood as a day to celebrate LGBTI+ people around the world – to recognise their existence, to understand their struggle, and to commemorate their achievements in striving for equality.

The date stands in solemn recognition of May 17, 1990, when the World Health Organisation’s then-new International Statistical Classification of Diseases no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis for mental illness – and remembering the days before then when this was not the case.

Over the years since 1990, and even since 2004, the world has come a long way in embracing diversity and inclusion in many different ways small and large. In some ways, however, the progress has been slow. It has been barely 18 months since Australia’s Federal Parliament voted marriage equality into law, a crowning achievement for the LGBTI+ community. This achievement, however, also served to remind us that we still have a way to go to be free of inequality and prejudice.

Every year, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) is also an opportunity for allies of the LGBTI+ community to show their visible support, to declare “I proudly stand with you”, to speak up to reject homophobia, transphobia, interphobia, biphobia, and exclusive behaviour wherever we see it.

Part of that support comes from the understanding that advocating for inclusion is a constant process, and that everyone can play a role no matter how they identify.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

We realise that in our modern age, this discrimination can and does occur in many forms – institutionally and informally, on the street, in the workplace or online.

We sincerely believe everyone who works at Telstra should be able to bring their whole selves to work – and we want that to be true of anyone throughout their career, no matter their place of work.

For our part, we as an organisation are striving to move past simply considering age, gender and ethnicity in our work to instead take a holistic view of diversity, as part of our newly implemented company-wide Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, while prioritising fairness for any under-represented or marginalised groups.

This new strategy sets in stone our intention to use the power of diverse thinking in inclusive teams to pursue innovation – in creating an inclusive environment at Telstra where everyone can thrive, we want to ensure that under-represented people and groups are heard, and that diverse thinking is valued.

To that end, we’ve set up four new employee representative groups to champion diversity across our business, each with a sponsor from our executive leadership team – we want to underline the importance of this representation at every level within our organisation, and for everyone to commit to creating inclusive teams. These new groups come in addition to our long-running SPECTRUM network representing LGBTI employees and their allies at Telstra, now in its 11th year, and our Brilliant Connected Women group pushing forward in gender diversity.

Diversity is a reality; inclusion is a choice. We’ve made the choice to be inclusive, to set an example for others in our professional and personal lives. As an organisation, we’re a foundation member of Pride in Diversity, the national not-for-profit group advancing LGBTI workplace inclusion and the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index. Diversity and inclusion permeates our culture, and we have embedded it in our values and priorities.

We know it has taken a long time for LGBTI+ people across Australia and the world to start to be included. Days like IDAHOBIT Day are important for us to recognise that there is still a lot more to do to champion diversity and inclusion in all its forms. Today is a day for us to remember that we all have a role to play to drive the change necessary to ensure our society and workplaces are equal for all people.

Delivering enhanced mobile coverage for Central Coast commuters

Network

Posted on April 5, 2019

2 min read

We know increased mobile coverage is a priority for both consumers and businesses in regional Australia, and we know everyone loves to be able to use their phones on their daily commute.

For commuters along the New South Wales Central Coast, the challenging terrain means patchy mobile coverage in some sections leading to an inconsistent and frustrating experience for those wanting to respond to emails, stream videos or post on social media.

Telstra, together with the NSW and Federal Government, will soon commence an initiative to improve mobile network coverage on the Central Coast rail corridor.

Telstra is contributing more than $13 million as part of this joint initiative, which will see new mobile infrastructure built between Hornsby and Wyong – around 68 kilometres of train tracks – as well as deliver Wi-Fi at train stations along the rail corridor.

The landscape between Hornsby and Wyong stations is some of the most rugged along the NSW rail network, and the tunnels, mountains and national parks in the surrounding area make building mobile infrastructure in the area particularly complex.

This will soon change. Construction activities have commenced with mobile coverage improvements and Wi-Fi connectivity to be progressively delivered over the coming months.

Our investment in this initiative will see us delivering connectivity to over 90% of this rail corridor so Telstra customers can make the most of their commute.

We have already made significant network investments along numerous Australian rail links, extending our 4GX footprint as part of our ongoing commitment to regional Australia. We are proud to be working with the NSW Government to help bring this project to life.

Our commitment to modernising payphones in Australia

Telstra News

Posted on March 27, 2019

3 min read

Telstra provides over 16,000 public payphones across the country to serve the needs of all Australians. Payphones in Australian regional and metro areas provide a vital civic utility, with 13 million calls made last year, 200,000 of which were emergency calls to ‘000’.

With payphone technology evolving, and Australians using mobile devices more than ever before, we recently began a payphone upgrade project across Australian metropolitan areas to enhance the services that can be accessed from around 1,800 of our payphones.

It is envisaged that over time the new payphones will provide a number of additional services for the community, including mobile phone charging, Wi-Fi access, as well as providing a space for communicating everything from emergency alerts to a range of content services such as public transport information to city maps, weather, tourist advice, information on nearby cultural attractions and the ability to promote the work of charitable organisations.

Telstra has partnered with JCDecaux on this upgrade programme.  JCDecaux has worked closely with us on the design and delivery of the new payphone booths and in addition to the information outlined above the screens on the booths may be used to display commercial advertising.  In order to display commercial advertising on street furniture, JCDecaux follows the required council planning approvals process, separate to Telstra’s rights to install the payphone booth under relevant legislation.

In Melbourne we have already installed 34 new payphones, the design of which we altered after consultation with the City of Melbourne. JCDecaux also received the relevant planning approvals from the City of Melbourne for commercial advertising. A more advanced payphone booth is due to be rolled out in 2020.

A concern has been raised about the size and location of our new payphones. We acknowledge there has been a small increase in size, mainly to accommodate the fibre connections and other equipment required in a modern smart city, all collocated within a considered design to minimise street clutter.

The new payphone booths have also been designed to reduce pedestrian impact by adding height over width. The newly installed booths in Melbourne are only 15cm wider than the cabinets they replaced, which have been in use for over 35 years. In most cases the new payphones will be installed in non-pedestrian thoroughfares and within the lines of other existing street furniture like seats, trees and bins, and motorbike parking to reduce pedestrian impact.

This is the first major redesign of the payphone booth since 1983, and we believe the small increase in size and new design will result in minimal impact on the streetscape, with the additional services the phones will offer bringing real benefits to the community and passers-by.

We will continue to engage and work with all stakeholders, including local governments and other associations on this project.

Joining the A List to act on climate change

Sustainability

Posted on March 20, 2019

3 min read

We have been recognised by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) on the Global Climate Change Index as one of three Australian companies to receive an A rating for our actions to improve our environmental performance.

The CDP 2018 Climate A List comprises 127 companies from around the world that have been identified as leading in their efforts and actions to address climate change. In 2018, three ASX-listed companies made the Climate A List – Telstra, BHP and Stockland.

At Telstra, as we strive to be a world class technology company, we accept our responsibility to help facilitate low-carbon growth, to minimise our emissions, and to improve community resilience to a changing climate. We believe that business has an important role to play in addressing global warming.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions we invested $5 million in improving the energy efficiency of our facilities in the last year, including installing new lighting and air conditioning controls, as well as retiring inefficient cooling systems and improving our fault detection. We’ve also invested in solar photovoltaic installations and combined energy storage throughout the year, helping deliver savings of over 17,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and more than 18,000 MWh in energy usage.

We know that moving to the cloud can be extremely advantageous for businesses, not only for efficiency and cost savings but also in reducing carbon emissions. To make it clearer and easier for our partners to see the difference and make the switch, we launched our Cloud Calculator tool to estimate businesses’ carbon, cost and time savings when moving to our cloud service.

We also produced the Australian SMARTer2030 report in partnership with Fujitsu to promote the potential of sustainable information and communication technologies for business and government – not only in lowering costs, but in enabling savings of 188 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030.

Importantly, we’ve working to achieve our ambitious target to reduce our carbon emissions intensity per petabyte of data used across our networks – with a goal to cut this by 50 per cent over the three-year period from FY18 to FY20.

Improving our environmental performance also means stepping up to support renewable energy projects in Australia. In the last year, we signed a landmark contract to utilise the entire energy output of the Emerald solar farm in Northern Queensland, and entered into an agreement with partners like ANZ and Coca-Cola Amatil to purchase long-term energy supply from the Murra Warra wind farm in western Victoria.

We’re proud of our recognition in CDP’s 2018 Climate A List, however there is plenty more to do. Telstra is committed to continuing to minimise our own greenhouse gas emissions and prepare our business to build in climate resilience. As a large telecommunications and technology company, we will continue to innovate and leverage technology to help our customers and our communities respond to climate change.

Bringing businesses the technology they need to succeed

Small Business

Posted on March 4, 2019

3 min read

We’re opening the first of our 28 brand new Business Technology Centres around Australia in Townsville, the economic gateway to North Queensland. Our new Business Technology Centres will cater to small and medium business operators, giving them guidance and advice on the best technology solutions for their specific needs.

In 2019, a small business needs more than just a mobile phone plan and a website if it wants to excel. These days, it’s all about cloud storage and software as a service, data networks and IP phones, and high-quality hardware and software built for business.

We’re making these specialised services available to a wider range of businesses with the launch of our Telstra Business Technology Centres across Australia. We’re introducing a new way of interacting with our small business customers, too – we’re here to offer our advice and expertise in business, not just to sell you more, and to help you build relationships with our own partners in world-class technology – providers like Microsoft and Cisco.

A Telstra Business Technology Centre is set up to be a one-stop shop for our small and medium business customers – bringing together a team of highly trained staff with expertise in small business and our leading range of small business technology solutions – everything from website and e-commerce platforms to fixed broadband, nbn and mobile services. More complex technology needs require more complex service and support, and we understand that in an increasingly digital world your business’s connectivity and reliability are paramount.

We chose Townsville as the home of our first Business Technology Centre in recognition of its importance as a major economic gateway for the North Queensland region. It has varied industries and more than 2000 businesses of all sizes – but despite being a major regional centre, there are limited choices for small and medium businesses when it comes to accessing new technology. We’ll now be making the most advanced software and technology business solutions available to businesses of all sizes as we open new Business Technology Centres across the country.

The rollout of Telstra Business Technology Centres across the country is part of our T22 strategy to simplify our offerings for customers and to reduce unnecessary complexity. Recently, we announced a major revamp to our plans for businesses bringing many much-demanded features like dedicated service and support for business customers, unlimited data on selected Business Bundle mobile plans, and Platinum for Business 24/7 tech support.