The Federal Government has amended and re-submitted its key telco bill in Parliament. The move comes despite its failure to pass in the Senate the first time.
According to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 has been amended following the Government’s signing of a financial heads of agreement with Telstra.
During a press conference in Canberra, Gillard responded to questions about the difficulty of passing the Bill by stating the Greens and Independents were supportive of the National Broadband Network.
“The pivotal issue here is what is [Opposition leader] Tony Abbott and [Shadow Communications Minister] Malcolm Turnbull’s position,” she said. “If they back a delay they will be backing higher prices and less choice for Australians.”
The amendments made to the Bill include transitional arrangement that take the Telstra deal into account. But it still calls for the structural separation of Telstra between its wholesale and retail divisions.
“Other important measures…provide greater certainty for Telstra,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement. “[They] include…allowing Telstra to acquire the spectrum it needs to provide advanced wireless broadband services unless the Minister determines in a legislative instrument otherwise.
“[And] giving priority to a genuine structural separation process for Telstra over functional separation.”