The corporation tasked with the the rollout of NBN towers and fixed lines across the country has ignored pleas to halt a controversial tower being built close to residents at Clothiers Creek, west of Cabarita Beach.
It comes despite legal advice from the residents which they claim says the construction is illegal. A press release from residents says, ‘advice from Peter McEwen SC, the most senior environment and local government barrister in NSW says, in essence: “The current construction of an NBN tower at Hammond Drive does not have a valid approval and is therefore illegal.”’
The residents also say they were forced to pay for the advice in the absence of any government representation to fight the NBN tower. Ironically NBN Co is a government-run corporation.
The residents say, ‘NBN/Visionstream have continually insisted that the development didn’t need council planning approval. This DA process would provide greater transparency, provision of more comprehensive documentation, formal and proper consideration of the location by the council and rights of independent appeal for residents.’
NBN Co replies
But NBN Co says it ‘confirmed with Tweed Shire Council that it complies with all statutory planning, environmental and health and safety laws under ISEPP’ at the site.
A spokesperson told The Echo, ‘As such, NBN does not intend to provide any further information regarding compliance and intends to continue with the construction of the fixed-wireless facility at Clothiers Creek.’
Additionally, residents say they sought, but were denied, access to the legal advice purportedly obtained by Tweed Shire Council on the matter.
But a Tweed Council spokesperson told The Echo that legal advice advising Council on its development assessment function ‘is confidential communication subject to legal professional privilege.’
Council mute on legal advice
‘Therefore, the advice given to council on the Clothiers Creek NBN works was provided and received under an expressed obligation of non-disclosure. This was explained in correspondence to a representative of the residents.
‘Given the public interest in this matter, the essence of the legal advice was communicated to residents to ensure they were informed, without dishonouring the confidentiality in which the legal advice was provided to council.
And residents also took aim at politicians and bureaucrats, who they say gave no support ‘at local government, state or federal government level’.
Elliot made representations
But federal Labor MP Justine Elliot told The Echo, ‘My door is always open and I have previously met with this group of residents from Clothiers Creek concerning the NBN tower and have made direct representations to the minister for communications in the Abbott government. I’ve also been contacted by other locals expressing a very positive view regarding the rollout of NBN in Clothiers Creek.
‘If anyone wants to raise any further issues about NBN Co I encourage locals to contact me and I will continue to make representations to NBN Co and also to the minister for communications in the Abbott government.’
Residents, including children, have taken a blood-count test.