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It is with the best of intentions that Australia embarked on a program of privatisation that commenced in the 1970s and continues today. Government’s efforts over the past 40 years to divest itself of utilities and enterprises in a shift from a command economy to a broader market economy is to be applauded but only lightly for the implementation of the privatisation program has, at times, been a shambles resulting in failed legislation and regulation, unwanted outcomes, and a lack of competition. It is timely that Emeritus Professor Tevor Barr has authored a novel that was inspired by real events during the privatisation of Australian Government telecommunications assets. The aptly named and newly privatised Telco One has recruited a chief executive officer from New York and the business culture transition begins. Decades after the events described in Professor Barr’s Grand Intentions the Australian telecommunications market remains in a state of constant flux with successive Governments failing to put in place a balanced, fair and open competitive market that would justify the privatisation program. The rationale for the National Broadband Network highlights the quagmire into which the Government of the day was forced to step and it will be another five to ten years before a future Government has the next opportunity to restructure the industry. Let us hope that they get it right this time around.
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