Telstra under scrutiny of Nats

According to a National Party statement issued earlier this week, the inquiry will incur a thorough examination of service standards "in the bush -- even beyond timely and efficient installations and repairs". In a previous statement, the National Party said: "People believe the quality of Telstra service in this country has declined since partial privatisation."

However, a National Party spokesperson said the inquiry would extend to include the examination of service performance levels in metropolitan areas. Details of the inquiry, such as who would conduct it, what areas of service would be examined and how long the inquiry would take, would be released "in the next few days", the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the Federal Government had been "talking about" the inquiry "for a year or two", but the recent furore over suggestions that more than 10,000 Telstra employees would be sacked had brought the inquiry to the fore.

"If Telstra thinks it can get by with flimsy service, they've got another thing coming," the spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson said the National Party agreed with sentiments made last week by the Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, that "there is no direct correlation between fewer staff and weaker levels of service".

Senator Alston and Telstra were unavailable for comment.

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