Liberals take Telstra split off the cards

Australia has missed its chance to split Telstra should it win the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to former finance boss, turned shadow communications minister Nick Minchin.

The Liberal veteran and Turnbull supporter ended a six-month stint in the defence portfolio to become Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's duelling partner after the September opposition cabinet reshuffle.

Minchin told members of the telecommunications industry, including the Terria group, structural separation should be taken off the table.

“Structural separation is not necessary [because] it is far too late in the evolution of telecommunications to discuss it,” Minchin said.

“The opportunity was there in 1999 (when Telstra was privatised) but the time has passed.

“I believe [Telstra] will never voluntarily separate and no sensible government would force it to do so.”