Service as important as cash

31 Aug, 2005 08:45 PM

LEGISLATION to ensure service standards is more important than cash from the sale of Telstra, according to Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Sandy McTaggart.

³It¹s more important to have a legislative framework to ensure service delivery than just money by itself,² Mr McTaggart said.

³The $3 billion package is very welcome but we need to primarily ensure the Universal Service Obligation and Community Frameworks are upheld.

³There have been a few hiccups in pastoral areas with stations connected to the high-orbiting satellite, which does cause a delay in some homesteads.

³But from a pastoral perspective communications are not too bad.²

WA Nationals president Wendy Duncan said the Federal Government was waiting for the best time to sell in relation to the Telstra share price.

A spokesperson for Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the $3 billion Connect Australia package had been approved by Cabinet.

³The sale Bill will be discussed in the next two sittings of Parliament which begin in two weeks,² the spokesperson said.

Senator Coonan said regular reviews were the next best thing, short of a crystal ball, to determine the future needs of regional Australians.

³The first review will commence three years after the sale of Telstra and then at least every four years after that,² she said.

³To complement the reviews, the $2 billion future-proofing Communications Fund will be invested on behalf of the Australian people.

³It will be managed by an independent advisory board with the interest generated to be spent on upgrades and rollouts of telecommunications services into the future.²


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