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Record profit shows why no more of Telstra should be sold.



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Record Profit Shows Why No More Of Telstra Should Be Sold Stephen Smith - Shadow Minister for Communications

Media Statement - 30 August 2000

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Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, today said that Telstra's record $4 billion profit showed one of the key reasons why the remaining 50.1 percent should not be sold.

In Question Time today, I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts:

Is the Minister aware that:

The Government received $30 billion from the part sale of Telstra, less than 8 times today's record Telstra $4 billion annual profit; ❍

Of the $30 billion, only $2.3 billion is for regional Australia and the environment; and ❍ If Telstra had remained wholly in public hands, the Government would have received $2.3 billion as an annual dividend from today's profit alone? ❍

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Does the Minister agree with his National Party colleague, the Member for Kennedy, that Telstra's record profit makes a "farce" of the argument that all Telstra should be sold, thereby losing Telstra's dividend stream?

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The Minister failed to address any of the points raised in my question.

"Instead he chose to question the veracity of the figures which are a matter of record.

"For example, the figures can be found in two Media Releases issued by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts dated 12 December 1996 and 21 June 1999 and from page 34 of Telstra's Annual Report released today.

"If the rest of Telstra is sold then future dividends will be lost to the Commonwealth. These monies will not be available to help ensure that regional Australia receives communications services on an equitable basis.

"The Member for Kennedy is right. He is the only member of the National Party prepared to stand up for the interests of regional Australia over Telstra.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.