Telstra to waive silent number fees for violence victims

VICTIMS of domestic and family violence will no longer have to pay to have a silent number after Telstra revealed it would waive the fee.

In a blog on Telstra's website this week company spokesman Tim O'Leary confirmed the move.

"We understand that some Australians require a silent line because their personal safety is at risk so we will be waiving the silent line fee for customers in these circumstances," Mr O'Leary wrote.

"We're just finalising how this will work, but we'll include anyone who has a valid protection order recognising a security threat or is a client of a community organisation providing services to people who are facing a security threat."

The monthly fee for a silent line is $2.93, which Telstra said had not increased, apart from GST charges, since 1996.

Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy welcomed the decision as an "important step in protecting the privacy of some of Australia's most vulnerable people".

"I expect other providers who charge silent number fees to do the same to protect victims of domestic and family violence," Mr Conroy said.

Optus offers silent numbers without a fee.

Mr Conroy also revealed a Senate Committee on Telecommunications was considering whether to scrap fees for silent or unlisted numbers for all Australians.

The issue of fees for silent or unlisted numbers was considered as part of the Australian Law Reform Commission's review of Australian privacy laws.



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