Telstra urges Senate to delay separation

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Telstra urges Senate to delay separation

Pleads with Senators.

Telstra today appeared before a Senate inquiry to plead with government senators to stop the structural separation of the company by urging for a delay in the debate whilst it finishes "constructive discussions" with the government.

In an opening statement to a senate inquiry into the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009, Telstra reinforced its position on the proposed separation.

"If the government decides to proceed with the Bill, we believe that it is only sensible that the Senate defer debate until after the conclusion of the constructive discussions between Telstra and the government over the NBN and the completion of the government's NBN implementation study," said Telstra group managing director of NBN engagement Geoff Booth.

"We would also urge that significant amendments are made to the Bill," Booth said.

He said Telstra believed the way in which it could reach a mutually acceptable outcome was via commercial negotiations and not via legislation.

"We cannot agree to proposals that fail to give fair value to our shareholders," said Booth.

Optus general manager of interconnect and economics Andrew Sheridan told iTnews that Telstra's arguments were "not really fit for purpose".

"Telstra is back on maneuvers. We're now starting to see them play their old games again," he said. "They've had plenty of time to negotiate with government."

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