Peel region residents can now make calls for free on all Telstra payphones.
In the past year, about 11 million calls were made across Australia from Telstra payphones.
This included more than 230,000 calls to critical services like ‘000’ and Lifeline, proving a crucial service for some of the country’s most vulnerable people and communities, especially those in regional and remote areas.
Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn said this decision means everyone can now use payphones to make a free local or national call to a standard fixed line or a call to an Australian mobile.
“Telstra Payphones are now free phones for everyone to anywhere in Australia," Mr Penn said.
"They are an iconic and critical part of our community, and for many Australians, the availability of a payphone is a vital lifeline, especially for those who are vulnerable including the homeless, people who are isolated or someone escaping an unsafe situation.
"That’s why I have taken this decision to make national calls from payphones free, because they play such a critical role in our community, particularly in times of need and for those in need.”
“I have been moved seeing firsthand queues of people waiting in line, to use a payphone to tell their family and friends they’re safe after a bushfire, a cyclone or some other natural disaster has taken the mobile network down. I can only imagine the relief their families feel knowing their loved one is safe.
“During COVID-related lockdowns, we’ve seen domestic and family violence agencies report a 60 per cent rise in new clients seeking help for the first time, and an increase in abusive behaviours overall.
"It’s not always easy for people in these situations to use a home phone or their mobile to get help so I hope that making payphone calls free might play a small part in helping them get the assistance they need."
Standard national calls and SMS from Telstra payphones will be free from today.
International and calls to premium and satellite numbers will still incur a cost.