Telstra must explain 'heartbreaking' cuts

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says today is a difficult day for Telstra employees. (AAP)

The loss of 8000 jobs at Telstra is "heartbreaking news", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

Telstra must explain how 8000 job cuts will help deal with outages regularly plaguing the company, the communications minister says.

The telecommunications giant says one-in-four executives and middle managers will be sacked as it cuts 8000 employees and contractors over the next three years.

"It's up to each business to explain why they take the decisions that they do," Senator Mitch Fifield told reporters on Wednesday.

"Telstra have indicated that their objective is to provide a good service to their customers, to simplify their product offering and to put the business on a better footing."

The company has put aside $50 million for various aspects of the redundancies, which come after a year of regular service outages across the country.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Telstra boss Andy Penn on Tuesday night about the job cuts and the transition funding.

"The loss of so many jobs is very, very tough, heartbreaking news for the Australian workers at Telstra," Mr Turnbull told reporters.

He said having a strong economy means there is a demand for skilled workers, and he hopes they will find new jobs in the "dynamic" telecommunications sector.

Senator Fifield said responses to customer complaints will be reviewed to ensure telecommunications companies are handling them properly.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was tough on workers who have been with the company for years.

"We want to make sure people aren't treated as being thrown on the scrap heap," Mr Shorten told reporters.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said there were "bright prospects" in the telecommunications industry.

"But it still will be hard and it still will be an anxious time for those Australians," Mr Morrison said outside the AAP Master Builders National Leaders Summit in Canberra.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was terrible news for the families of the workers.

"They're in our thoughts today, but beyond that, we stand ready to support them in terms of finding a new job, retraining, reskilling, all of those things," Mr Andrews said.

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