We are a small group of concerned Clothiers Creek residents very much focussed on the particulars of our case and individual ‘stories’ as to why we live here and the implications of the NBN tower. However, I think there are several general points that need to be drawn out of our experience.
- The vast majority of Australians, including ourselves, want a faster, cheaper and more reliable internet service. The national broadband network (note lower case) is almost akin to motherhood and its significance for both business and personal use is hard to deny.
- However, the devil is in the detail of the provision of this service, particularly in rural and rural residential areas like ours, where wireless towers are being used as the method of distribution.
- There is a strong argument against this method of distribution particularly now NBNCo have entered a contract to use the Telstra copper wiring.
- However, if towers are the chosen distribution method, location needs very careful planning consideration. There is increasing research and evidence about the health impacts of electromagnetic radiation, particularly on young children. Australian standards are low and no doubt will change. However in the meantime it is important to adopt the precautionary principle and ensure both NBN and telco towers are located say, 500 metres from homes and schools. This applies in several European countries. There are potentially shades of tobacco, asbestos and lead in petrol here.
- Additionally careful location planning to ensure environmental and visual issues are properly considered is most important,
- As with all planning decisions, getting the process right and bringing the community along with you is critical. It is not about political imperatives, speed of the rollout and delivering faster broadband to x percent of the country within the fastest time. It is about transparent community consultation processes, legal rights and proper professionalism.
- Both the process and planning decision making in relation to the Clothiers Creek site have been sorely lacking. It is distressing to individuals and not a useful approach.
Diane Morrison, Clothiers Creek