Telstra's NBN pit remediation recommences in 2 weeks

Work on Telstra pit remediation for the NBN will restart in two weeks, more than two months since work stopped amid asbestos fears.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

On August 19, retrained Telstra contractors will get back to work remediating pit infrastructure in preparation for the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, close to three months after Telstra stopped work in response to community fears about asbestos handling.

The company downed tools in late May, following community concern over how the contractors were handling deadly asbestos material as they overhauled Telstra's pits in preparation for NBN infrastructure.

Telstra has appointed 125 trained staff members, and will deploy up to 200 specialists to NBN sites around the country to oversee remediation work. Contractors have also now been retrained in how to appropriately deal with asbestos material.

The company's chief operations officer Brendon Riley said that companies working from August 19 must have strict asbestos-removal licences.

"We advised our contractors today that only companies which hold a Class B licence and can certify their staff have relevant training will start work from 19 August. We expect the workforce to steadily ramp up as more contractors meet these stringent requirements," Riley said in a statement.

Telstra will now also inform local councils ahead of NBN remediation work taking place, and will alert residents to the work being done. The government's Asbestos Task Force will also continue, Riley said.

"We continue to work closely with the federal government, Asbestos Task Force, and Comcare through this process. We will also continue to consult with our employees and unions about our safety focus and training."

The announcement comes as 200 workers were reportedly laid off last week by one of the subcontractors for Visionstream, which was forced to stop work on the pit remediation in Tasmania during the asbestos scare.

Editorial standards