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Nationals' Senate Leader to visit central west Qld.

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28 March 2000 B12/2000



National Party Senate Leader, Senator the Hon Ron Boswell, will visit Longreach, Muttaburra, Boulia, Winton, Aramac and Barcaldine on a tour of central and western Queensland focussing on telecommunications.

Senator Boswell, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, will inspect local Networking the Nation projects funded from the partial sale of Telstra.

‘The Nationals won $671m of social bonus programs for bush telecommunications and I am keen to see how these programs are working on the ground and take feedback back to Canberra.’

Senator Boswell will also discuss the recent government announcement that tenders would be called to fulfil a major part of the Nationals’ social bonus package for the bush. ‘$150 million will be spent upgrading infrastructure to enable untimed local calls within extended zones. There are various ways in which this can be done with new technology and I want to hear the local view from rural Queenslanders.’

‘I also want to encourage outback Queensland communities to put together submissions for the very important Inquiry into Telecommunications Services announced last week.’

Senator Boswell said that the inquiry was an opportunity not to be missed. ‘This Inquiry will pull together all aspects of telecommunications from service levels to new technology. It will map out the met, unmet and future service demands.’

‘The National Party’s position is that service levels in the bush for now and into the future are "non-negotiable". We won a huge package of reforms for the bush out of the sale of Telstra 2 and we will continue to demand that services be improved.’

Senator Boswell said that he would use the feedback from this outback tour to inform government decision making and the Queensland National Party’s Central Council debate in Longreach in April.

‘There is a lot to be positive about with the emergence of new technologies, and the Nationals want to be sure that they’ll deliver the advantages needed for our rural industries to stay competitive.’


Media Contact: Joanne Newbery: (07) 3001 8150 / (0419) 979 915