It’s only just into spring, and already the bushfires that ravage Australia fairly regularly have begun in the state of Queensland (not to mention those already burning in northern NSW as well).

Those impacted by bushfires are likely to be doing it tough. Those who lose their properties and possessions are usually the most affected, but the knock-on impacts affect many more – and Telstra is only too aware that infrastructure damage images entire communities.

In recognition of this, Telstra has announced an emergency assistance package for customers who have lost service in the following areas:

Amiens, Applethorpe, Ballandean, Beechmont, Binna Burra, Broadwater, Canungra, Coolum Beach, Cottonvale, Eukey, Goldfields, Glen Aplin, Point Arkwright, Point Coolum, Pozieres, Marcus Beach, Mingoola, Peregian Beach, Peregian Springs, Pikedale, Sarabah, Severnlea, Stanthorpe, The Summit, and Yaroomba.

A Telstra spokesperson said:

We understand how important it is to reach out to friends and family during times of crisis, and we want to do all we can to help our customers.

The assistance package provides customers with access to free and interim services during the recovery period, in addition to providing the wider community with free calls and free Telstra Air Wi-Fi through local payphones.

There are two kinds of assistance package on offer, depending on the impact experienced by customers:

Customers who have had to evacuate their home or have lost their home are encouraged to call Telstra on 132 203 (then enter their full home phone number including area code when prompted) to report a fault and register for the assistance package.

Telstra’s relief packages can include the following:

Short term measures (for Telstra customers who have a short term impact – temporary evacuation of premises or temporary fault):

  • Free use of Telstra public payphones in the affected areas
  • Free use of Telstra Air payphone hotspots in the affected areas
  • Free call diversion from an affected fixed home or business phone service to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of the carrier
  • Customers who use the free call diversion to divert their affected fixed home or business phone to their Telstra mobile service can also make local and STD® calls on their mobile at fixed-line rates, in accordance with their selected plan (limited to one designated Telstra mobile per affected household or business)
  • Affected Telstra mobile customers who do not have a Telstra home phone can receive a one-off credit to the value of $100 inc. GST (limited to one mobile phone per Telstra mobile account).

Long term measures (for Telstra customers who have suffered severe damage to or loss of their premises):

  • Free call diversion from the customer’s Telstra fixed phone service to another Australian fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier. This offer is applicable for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of the fire.
  • In addition, Telstra will apply a one-off credit to the value of $500 inc. GST to the customer’s Telstra fixed phone account to help cover the costs of the following, if required:
  • Connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at one temporary residence
  • Re-connection of a Telstra fixed phone service at the customer’s original permanent premises

As ever, the priority in times of crisis like this is to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing, but there’s a non-zero cost to rebuilding infrastructure following natural disasters like this, and this news will undoubtedly be welcome to those Telstra customers impacted by the fires.