• 12 OCT 05
    • 0

    Telstra forgets about risk warnings in sell-off

    The following letter-to-the-editor was published in late September of this year in the St George-Sutherland Shire Leader, apparently the community newspaper with the bigest coverage in Sydney. It is about the forthcoming government sell of of the remainder of Telstra and Anne makes a very important point. Telstra did not respond to it for obvious reasons!

    From Anne Wagstaff

    Dear Editor

    Telstra’s sale appears to be full of omissions, as well as contradictions. (Your View, September 20)

    This time last year Telstra warned that insurance against any risk associated with electromagnetic radiation is becoming more difficult to obtain because insurers are becoming less willing to provide cover or charging prohibitive prices. Telstra acknowledged this insurance problem in the risks section of its 2004 Annual Report*, stating “The establishment of a link between adverse health effects and electromagnetic energy (EME) could expose us to liability or negatively affect our operations.”

    However, this year Telstra appears to have omitted to tell shareholders, present and potential about such insurance problems. I wonder why?

    Regards

    Anne Wagstaff
    Oatley NSW 2223

    *EXTRACT of Innovation Everywhere, Telstra Annual Report 2004 under the heading Risk factors on pages 10 -11(hard copy)/pages 12-13 (soft copy)

    http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/investor/docs/companyoverview.pdf

    The establishment of a link between adverse health effects and electromagnetic energy (EME) could expose us to liability or negatively affect our operations

    The consensus of national and international scientific opinion is that there is no substantiated evidence of public health effects from the EME generated by radio frequency technology, including mobile phones and base stations, when used in accordance with applicable standards.

    In our operations, we comply with the EME levels permitted by legislation and applicable standards. While to date we have been able to obtain limited insurance against these risks, the preparedness of insurers to give this type of insurance cover is reducing and even this limited insurance cover may not continue to be economically viable. There is a risk therefore that an actual or perceived health risk associated with mobile telecommunications equipment and facilities could:

    ï lead to litigation against us;

    ï adversely affect us by reducing the number or the growth rate of mobile telecommunications services or lowering usage per customer;

    ï precipitate the imposition of more onerous applicable legal requirements which are more difficult or costly to comply with; or

    ï hinder us in installing new mobile telecommunications equipment and facilities.

    Any of these, or a combination of more than one, could have a negative effect on our results or financial position. For more information on EME, see “Information on the Company – Networks and systems – Electromagnetic energy”.

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