Independent senator could delay Telstra separation legislation

23 Nov 2010

Legislation which could pre-empt the structural separation of Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra looks to be in trouble once again, with reports that key independent senator Nick Xenophon may press to defer a vote on the proposals until after the release of the business plan for the National Broadband Network (NBN). According to The Australian, the senator said of the issue: ‘It’s a question of deferring the legislation, that is one particular option … Obviously I want to try to deal with this as expeditiously as possible but this is Australia’s biggest infrastructure project.’ Mr Xenophon also reportedly refused to sign a confidentiality agreement earlier this week in order to receive a briefing on the NBN’s 30-year business plan, which the government has said it will not release until next month.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese meanwhile has announced that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications will undertake a study of both the economic and social benefits of the NBN, with the committee looking in particular at the delivery of government services and the contribution of the network to regional economic growth and employment. The committee is due to report its findings by August 2011.

Australia, NBN Co, Telstra (incl. Belong)