Coalition says its NBN plan would cut asbestos risk

The federal Coalition claims its alternative plan for the National Broadband Network (NBN) would significantly cut the risk of exposure to asbestos material from Telstra Corp pits and pipes, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The opposition says that its plan to have fibre optic cables installed to nodes on street corners rather than directly to homes in most areas would allow Telstra to fix only a fraction of the one million pits it has to modify under the Labor government's NBN plan.

“Because we will simply bring fibre out to the distribution point, the street cabinet, all of the conduits and pits beyond that – the ones outside people's houses for example – will not be disturbed at all,” the opposition's shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said, according to the AFR.

Telstra has been under pressure since reports emerged recently that its subcontractors were mishandling asbestos material in its pipes and pits, prompting a meeting on Monday that included Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, Telstra representatives, industry members and asbestos victim groups to discuss the issue.

However, telecommunications consultant and safety expert Fernando Calero said the opposition's alternative NBN plan would still require Telstra to modify pits and pipes between Telstra exchanges and street corners, among other infrastructure, reducing any claims that it would lessen the asbestos liability, according to the AFR.

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Not so fast, pal. In 10 year’s time the copper will FAIL and with copper a majority of the FTTN users will have 0, that’s ZERO speed. Telstra themselves said 6 years ago the copper network was "5 minutes to midnight" with its life expectancy. It will need replacing anyway and at that point the Noalition $27 billion will be a write-off - $20+ billion on 60,000 Nodes that will be completely useless. Leaving asbestos conduits and cabinets in the ground is obviously not a solution, though in the finest profit-seeker practice it does offload the cost and problem onto someone, somewhere, sometime in the future rather than facing up to it and dealing with it. That attitude is exactly what caused a large part of the asbestos problem in the first place. Recall that Australia had the highest per capita use of asbestos in the world from the 1950s until the 1980s. Union and activist campaigns against it were strongly opposed by the industry. Due to corporate opposition driven by a desire to maintain profit and deny responsibility, asbestos use wasn't finally banned until 2004. Recall James Hardie. Counsel assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry in December 2003 into the creation by James Hardie Industries of its MRCF described in his final submission "A [asbestos producer and user James Hardie] corporate culture that was dishonest, secretive and disdainful of the plight of the sick and dying". Asbestos non-remediation, contracting-out, and flogging-off are a mixture demonstrating once again the cost and failures of the worker-hating management egoism often on display in the media. As usual, the post-modernist Harvard-management-school characters controlling NBN Co deluded themselves that by sub-, sub-sub-, and sub-sub-sub-contracting, they could distance themselves from problems by plausible deniability through blaming the subbies. They are using a model guaranteed to produce shoddy work, as well as guaranteed to attract spectacular publicity where any problem occurred (asbestos mishandling is merely one) that could not be concealed. It worked! Obviously those executives have now met the performance requirement for another large bonus.
What rubbish, it only defers the problem and in all probability makes it worse as the asbestos degrades. Did the prospectus(s) for the issue of Telstra shares to the public disclose this financial risk to investors. That is a more relevant question. Did the Howard Government mislead the public or did the press fail once again.
Exactly. Anything to protect the lucrative News Ltd Pay and Subscription TV Monopoly that supports the rest of the empire and pays the wages of the News Ltd executives, editors and reporters. Conflict of interest anyone, and yet the gullible are decieved and form their opinions and beliefs on that flimflam
R. Ambrose Like it or not the contractor method is now the only practical method, most of the skilled workers are now pretty much all self emploted and would not be interested in being employees. Who wants the B.S and idiot management. The asbestos problem was being attended to prior to privatisation, along with the long term consequences of Telstra's cutting maintenance and fault repairs including the asbestos remediation. A Telecom/Telstra employee had produced a detailed researched submission, Telstra wasn't interested , tried to present at the 1994 Telstra AGM to be shown the door. Cutting costs for short term profit and dividend was more important. The can was kicked down the road ever since. Now at the end of that road - the account is being presented. Thank Sol aand the Amigo's and Howard and Co and the media of the day, they all knew, but ideology and profit were more important. M.T and ABBOTT have PROMISED that Fibre on demand will be available. In fact a major P.O.V I have observed of the anti NBN brigade is that FTTH is available to the peasants and those that have not earned the right for a premium service. For them it is not a productivity tool, but a status symbol and ego trip so they love the idea of paying thousands for FTTP, a real status symnol and ego trip. Of course they will order FTTH to be "Superior", so the ducts and pits in the last mile will still have to be done on limited one offs (very expensive method) eandomly around the country - a far bigger diswaster and will add to the overall cost. The LBN will end up far more expensive for a far inferior over the long term essential National Communications infrastreucture. But who cares, ideology and dog in manger is far more important. Poor Fella Australia Will be ruled over by one that the UK declared a person not fit to run a media organisation, yet will rule us through his puppet bought Quisling movement and Quisling Government