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Senator Harradine should note Productivity Commission draft report contains on Telstra service levels.

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Stephen Smith MP

Member for Perth

Shadow Minister for Communications



Wednesday May 19th 1999




The Government Leader in the Sen ate, Senator Robert Hill, said today that he would clarify what needed to be done to secure Senator Harradine’s vote for the further 16% sell-off of Telstra.


“Senator Hill should send Senator Harradine a copy of the relevant extracts from the Draft Report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Impact of Competition Policy Reforms on Rural and Regional Australia,” Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, said today.


Mr Smith said that the draft Productivity Commission report contained grounds for alarm over deteriorating telecommunications service levels and standards in rural and regional Australia if Telstra is further privatised.


The draft report was released by the Productivity Commission for comment yesterday.


Mr Smith said the draft report evidence and findings outlined key concerns of rural and regional Australia about the deterioration of telecommunications service delivery.


The draft report states that “concerns relating to Telstra services and its operations in country Australia were raised constantly with the Commission during this inquiry.”


“These concerns are that country Australia will face slower response times in responding to faults and longer delays in connecting to new services, and a lesser commitment to the provision of adequate services,” Mr Smith said.


“Many consider that commercial disciplines will lead Telstra to abandon its commitment to improving standards in country Australia.


“Of particular concern is the evidence and findings relating to fault repair performance.”


With regard to fault repair performance, the draft report stated there was an absolute decline in Telstra’s fault repair performance in the years up to 1998.


The draft report states:

“Based on the minimum service standards introduced in January 1998 for specific geographic areas, the proportion of faults repaired in remote areas within the minimum service standards was well below that for rural and metropolitan areas


“It is clear from this report that further privatisation of Telstra will lead to further decline in standards of service to rural and regional Australia,” Mr Smith said.


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