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Thursday, 20 March 1997
Page: 2055

Senator HARRADINE(7.06 p.m.) —On a philosophical basis, I feel that there would be a need to approach this matter in a different way ab initio. In other words, my policy approach would have been to suggest that there be a telecommunications authority which the carriers then would access for the infrastructure. In other words, the telecommunications authority would have had the infrastructure and the carriers then would have been eligible to—

Senator Schacht —It is called structural separation amongst the aficionados.

Senator HARRADINE —Structural separation; you are right. That argument has been advanced and it has been lost. Now we have a situation where, as I understand it, this amendment is at least requiring Telstra to allow other carriers to access their already existing towers. That is how I see it. It would be better for business and particularly the environment for that to take place.

In relation to the point that Senator Margetts raised, I would like to hear the minister's response to the question about reasonableness. Is it a fact that, if Telstra is not reasonable in the circumstances, the ACCC has the power to direct Telstra to provide access to its tower facilities?