Western Australia must receive its fair share of funding for infrastructure and services should the proposed sale of Telstra go ahead.
Local Government and Regional Development Minister John Bowler said the State Government was opposed to the sale of Telstra and the Howard Government had ignored calls from the bush.
“All areas of WA need to be appropriately serviced,” Mr Bowler said.
“The State of Western Australia comprises one-third of the continent with many remote communities needing unique telecommunications services.
“The Federal Government has long neglected its responsibility to provide reliable communications to regional areas, particularly in WA.”
In 2002 the Telecommunications Needs Assessment, undertaken by the Department of Industry and Resources, revealed vast discrepancies in access to communications services between metropolitan and regional areas in the State.
“No matter where they live, the people of WA deserve a state-of-the art telecommunications system.
“People in remote and regional areas should not be disadvantaged while the Federal Government keeps its focus on the eastern seaboard.”
Mr Bowler said the time and effort that had been put into trying to off-load Telstra should have been spent working out how to improve the dismal services that so many Australians had to endure.
“The National Party is only talking about Queensland’s country areas and far more is needed than the band-aid solutions being used as an excuse to push the sale past the Nationals,” he said.
“Telstra needs to ensure that Australia is kept at the forefront of telecommunications with funds committed to the continual improvement and upgrading of services.
“Telstra continues to return a substantial profit to the Australian community each year and it should be kept that way for future generations.”
Minister's office: 9213 6500