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Monday, 27 November 1995
Page: 3842


Mr ABBOTT (7.58 p.m.) —In Killarney Heights in my electorate Optus are going down one side of the street stringing their pay TV cable on power poles and Sydney Electricity are going down the other side of the street burying their 11,000 volt distribution lines. The good news is that the top tier of the wires on the power poles is disappearing; the bad news is that there is a new tier on the bottom from Optus and Telstra.

  Optus say that they will go underground when the 240-volt delivery wires go underground, but the bad news for the people of Sydney is that Sydney Electricity have no plans—not ever, not now, not next year—to underground those 240-volt wires. We are stuck with a tangle of wires and poles far into the indefinite future. The only way that Sydney Electricity will underground those things is if local government pays for it.

  I am not here to apportion blame; I am here to appeal for reason. Telstra say they cannot give Optus access to their wires at anything other than what Optus think is an extortionate cost. Optus say that they cannot afford to go underground. Sydney Electricity say they cannot put all their wires underground because the profits have to be high and the prices have to be low. If that is economic rationalism, it does not make much sense to me. I call for a local summit of Sydney Electricity, Optus and Telstra, in my electorate, to try to ensure that 21st century technology is not delivered by 19th century means.

House adjourned at 8.00 p.m.