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Nash backs Coonan's rejection of Telstra bush plan.



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Media release

NASH BACKS COONAN'S REJECTION OF TELSTRA BUSH PLAN

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

New South Wales Nationals Senator Fiona Nash today said she fully supported Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan's decision to reject Telstra's Local Presence Plan because it did not contain enough information about the telco's plan for rural and regional Australia.

"I quickly formed the view that Telstra's Local Presence Plan is thin on substance and short on detail, and is more akin to a sales pitch about what Telstra does now rather than an indication of how Telstra would meet its obligation into the future," Senator Nash said.

"There was no way The Nationals would support this Telstra plan which is essentially predicated on the basis of 'trust us to do the right thing'.

"Telstra have given no commitment of at least maintaining, if not improving, existing levels of service.

"I'm not even convinced Telstra is committed to keeping Telstra Country Wide, Telstra's division dedicated to service delivery in the bush. I strongly support the retention of Telstra Country Wide, a service that provides an important interface for Telstra in rural and regional areas.

"As I travel across New South Wales the consistent message I get is that people just want a decent service from Telstra, not lip service.

"The Local Presence Plan does nothing to convince me that Telstra is really committed to rural and regional Australia."

Senator Nash said Senator Coonan's decision to reject the latest Telstra draft plan is a clear indication that she has been listening to The Nationals and the concerns raised on behalf of the people, businesses and communities who do not live in metropolitan Australia.

Media Contact: Mark Croxford 0422 404 149