Farmers split over what sale will mean

Codrington dairy farmer Peter Graham said the full sale of Telstra was a step forward for regional areas like the Northern Rivers.

"The Government simply can't compete against private enterprise," he said.

"There is so much more advanced technology that we may get once competition is opened up.

"I believe in time prices will be more competitive too.

"It is not as if our phone lines will close down because the Government is not controlling telecommunications."

Mr Graham's comments, however, go against the feeling of the NSW Farmers' Association, which yesterday said the Government's package was a distraction from getting the right rules in place to ensure the equitable delivery of telecommunications services in rural Australia.

President Jock Laurie said the $3 billion package would not be enough to deliver parity of service or price to customers in the bush.

Bonalbo resident Tony Leggo said he was disappointed about the sale.

Mr Leggo was a prominent figure in Bonalbo residents' fight to get a mobile phone tower in the area from Telstra.

"I'm just relieved we got it all approved before they announced the sale," he said.

"The Federal Government has an obligation to rural people, but when Telstra goes private we'll probably be told the company is owned by its shareholders and doesn't have the money to give us services," he said.

"The Government say they are putting money aside for services but how long will that last?"

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