Government’s bush phone project under attack

Yesterday's Federal Government announcement of a $150 million project to improve telecommunications in the bush has sparked debate over the privatisation of Telstra and criticism from the National Party. The project announced by Communications Minister Richard Alston – which will provide untimed local calls for those living in remote areas – has been seen as a promotion of Telstra privatisation and a bid to capture support for the Howard Government in the bush. The National Party has stated that it will vote against the privatisation of Telstra before the next election. Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard said he was not considering introducing any legislation for full privatisation in the immediate future.

‘Government's crossed line over Telstra sale', The Daily Telegraph, 15/02/01, p 8.