Senate debate is continuing on the Federal Government’s proposed legislation on the full-sale of Telstra, after the presentation of a Senate committee report on the issue yesterday.

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Labor, the Democrats and the Greens are continuing to oppose the government’s plans to sell off its half share of Telstra.

Labor Senator for Victoria Gavin Marshall told the Senate that customers in regional areas would see their already inadequate telephone, internet and mobile services decline if Telstra is fully privatised.

“Everyone knows that telecommunications services in the bush are not up to scratch. They are totally inadequate. There is widespread acceptance that under a fully privatised Telstra service levels in rural and regional Australia would at best remain stagnant, but would more probably lead to further decline. Either way, everyone knows that service levels in rural and regional Australia will certainly not improve in any way under Telstra’s privatisation not now and not into the future”.

The Senate committee’s report, supported by a majority of committee members recommended the sale should go ahead.

But it said there should be some changes to the bill and a public awareness campaign should be launched to address community concerns.

The federal government has not succeeded in convincing some of the four independent members who hold the balance of power in the Senate to support the legislation.

But the Federal Communications Minister, Daryl Williams, says he believes the proposed legislation to sell Telstra will have achieved enough support to be put to a vote by the end of the year.

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