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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

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Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

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Kent Town SA 5071

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Kent Town SA 5067

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Rural and Regional Australia Cannot Trust Labor with TelecommunicationsEmail this pageBack

Thursday, October 22, 2009 Printer Friendly Version

Labor’s appalling track record means it simply cannot be trusted to deliver better telecommunications outcomes for rural and regional Australia Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin said today.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that Labor’s radical plans to force the structural separation of Telstra or ban it from acquiring additional spectrum to upgrade its mobile network, will deliver better outcomes for rural and regional Australians,” Senator Minchin said.

“Telstra’s scale and capacity as a national, vertically integrated incumbent enables it to support the provision of services in the many uneconomic areas of rural and regional Australia where other providers choose not to invest.”

“The company’s Next G mobile network provides by far the broadest geographical coverage of any network and starving Telstra of spectrum will mean rural and regional Australians will be deprived of faster and higher capacity services,” Senator Minchin said.

“Labor wants to shut down Telstra’s national fixed line copper network, yet cannot explain how those Australians in rural and regional areas will continue to receive fixed line, including telephone, services in this event.”

Despite this, Stephen Conroy has guaranteed that everyone who currently receives a fixed line service will continue to do so, but he cannot explain how. Labor’s NBN will provide fixed line fibre services to 90 per cent of the population, with 10 per cent to be serviced by yet to be determined wireless and satellite services.

Since coming to office the Rudd Government has already:

 Abolished the $2.4 billion Communications Fund, established by the Coalition for telecommunications upgrades in rural and regional Australia.

 Cancelled the $2 billion OPEL project which would have seen fast and affordable broadband services delivered throughout under served rural and regional areas this year.

 And is winding back the Australian Broadband Guarantee program which provides subsidised services for Australians living in under served areas.

“This Government already has a dreadful track record and should not be believed when it says it is acting in the best interests of rural and regional Australia,” Senator Minchin said.

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