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Nick Minchin

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Liberal Senator for South Australia
Nick Minchin


Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

PO BOX 2141
Kent Town SA 5071

36 Grenfell Street
Kent Town SA 5067

Phone: 08 8362 8600
Fax: 08 8362 8579
Toll Free: 1300 301 647
(Toll free in South Australia only,
for the cost of a local call

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3004
Fax: 02 6277 5703

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 Printer Friendly Version

The Government’s decision to force the structural separation of Telstra makes no sense given its determination to spend $43 billion to build a National Broadband Network Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin said today.

Senator Minchin was responding to the Government’s announcement of its proposed changes to the regulation of telecommunications.

"The Government has changed its policy towards Telstra and decided that it should try to force the break-up of the company," Senator Minchin said.

"The Government has given no adequate explanation for this radical change of policy or any analysis of the likely impact on Telstra’s 9 million customers, 1.4 million shareholders or 30,000 employees.

"Nor has the Government explained why it needs to take the radical step of forcing the break-up of Telstra, when it is proposing to spend $43 billion building a wholesale only optical fibre network to compete with Telstra,” Senator Minchin said.

"Today's announcement by the Government raises real questions about its own confidence in the roll out of its $43 billion NBN.

"It doesn't appear to make much sense to take the enormous risks to Australia’s telecommunications sector flowing from the break-up of Telstra, if the Government is serious about building its NBN.

"The Coalition has grave concerns about the Government's hairy-chested approach and urges it to adopt a more cooperative approach to Telstra.

"Now that Telstra Managing Director David Thodey has brought a new spirit of consensus and cooperation to the leadership of that company, the Government should be working with him, not holding a gun at his head.

"The Coalition will closely examine the 137-page Bill presented today by the Government and respond to its detailed provisions in due course.

"In the meantime the Government has raised fresh doubts about its commitment to its NBN proposal and created considerable uncertainty for Telstra's customers, shareholders and employees. The Government’s radical and risky proposal has already robbed Telstra shareholders of $2 billion in the value of their shares," Senator Minchin said.

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