Govt's Tas investment plan stems from Telstra sale

In what is being described as another bribe for Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine, the federal government yesterday announced a $30 million project to improve employment and IT&T in Tasmania.

The government said it will allocate $15 million from the proceeds of the further sale of Telstra to Launceston for infrastructure and research projects.

Telstra's CEO, Ziggy Switkowski, said yesterday the carrier will match the government's funding, bringing the total budget for the Launceston Broadband Project (LBP) to $30 million over five years.

However, if the further sale of Telstra is blocked, funding may be cut, reports said.

Senator Harradine holds the balance of power in the Senate and has indicated he plans to vote against the full sale of Telstra. Harradine is yet to make a decision about the sale of 16 per cent of the carrier.

According to officials, it is planned the LBP will have three key elements:

Construction of a broadband network in Launceston, linking up to 5000 customers and offering connection speed of at least 64kbit/sec; Establishment of a Telstra development facility for the commercialisation of broadband applications;Funding for related broadband development activities by other businesses.

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