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Monday, 9 December 2002
Page: 7371

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (1:16 PM) —Senator Lundy has spoken to these amendments and the following amendment. We take the view that the Democrats' approach is not just well intentioned but is sensible policy. We understand that stakeholders want to have their views explicitly considered before the ACCC makes its decision. We therefore agree with Senator Lundy that automatic expiry after five years is no longer sufficient. We certainly oppose the extension to 10 years. Given the dynamic nature of the telecommunications industry and rapid changes in technology, five years is a more appropriate period than 10 years, particularly given that contracts in the telecommunications sector generally run for around three to five years. I think that means that the Democrats and the government are in agreement on these amendments.