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Senate report on the sale of Telstra.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Alan Eggleston

Liberal Senator for Western Australia

 

[Tuesday, 9 March 1999]

 

Senate Report on the Sale of Telstra

 

Senator Alan Eggleston Chair of the Environment Communications, Information Technology & the Arts Committee today tabled the Report considering the Telstra (Transition to Full Private Ownership Bill) 1998, the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection & Service Standards) Bill 1998, Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1998, the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 1998 and the NRS Levy Imposition Amendment Bill 1998. Senator Eggleston said that the evidence put to the Committee support the full privatisation of Telstra and that the sale proceeds — through the Social Bonus - would specifically benefit regional and rural Australians.

 

“The issue of privatisation as such did not generate much interest,” the Senator said.

 

“In fact the majority of submissions were concerned with consumer service issues rather than the question of ownership”.

 

The report specifies the benefits of privatisation for Australian telecommunications consumers — including the opportunity to gain further shares in this great Australian company.

 

‘There is clear evidence from this report that the Government’s ability to regulate the telecommunications industry is independent of the ownership of Telstra.” The Senator said.

 

Senator Eggleston said that the recommendations the committee has made to the Government would also strengthen consumer safeguards, including a review of local call zones, mobile location indicators for the emergency call service and the effectiveness of the competitive regime.

 

The Government recommendations of the ECITA Committee Report are appended and a full copy of the report is available from the ECITA office on (02) 6277 3525.

 

Media Enquires: Michelle Curtis (02) 6277 3407

 

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Recommendation 1

 

The Committee recommends that the government should proceed with the

development of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) tendering scheme with a view to determining if there is a serious commitment from industry to participate in such arrangements.

 

Recommendation 2

 

The Committee recommends that the government should review the appropriateness of the standard call zones, having regard to demographic and technological change.

 

Recommendation 3

 

The Committee recommends that the government should monitor the performance of carriers in this area and make sure that mobile location indicators for the emergency call service are appropriately implemented.

 

Recommendation 4

 

The Committee recommends that the government seek advice from the ACCC on any procedural changes it would recommend to improve the effectiveness of the competitive regime.

 

Recommendation 5

 

The Committee recommends that the government undertake ongoing consultations with appropriate groups regarding the development of the ‘prescribed criteria’.

 

Recommendation 6

 

The Committee reports to the Senate that it has considered the Telstra (Transition to Full Private Ownership) Bill 1998, the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Bill 1998, the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1998, the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 1998 and the NRS Levy Imposition Amendment Bill 1998 and recommends that the Bills

proceed.

 

 

 

 

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