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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

NBN Co ignores residents’ protests over ‘illegal’ tower

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Clothiers Creek residents protesting at the site of the NBN tower, which they say has not been legally approved.
Clothiers Creek residents protesting at the site of the NBN tower, which they say has not been legally approved.

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.

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  1. its all very difficult. there is no community consensus. people want good internet and mobile phone access, in fact need it to function in today’s society. Regional areas here with creeks, valleys, ridges, mountains topography have appalling internet and mobile phone connections, and complaints about the poor services are frequent. The community is divided. some would love good internet and mob service. but haven’t got it. Objections to towers by some community members have affected the rest of us. We don’t all have the same view.

  2. Huh? But NBN towers have got NOTHING to do with mobile phone reception. They are internet towers and you need a fixed antenna on your roof. They are NOT WI-FI! You CANNOT pick-up mobile reception or even mobile internet. I think you should support the protesters who know what these towers are about. We have suffered the same NBN fate on the South Coast of NSW. Believe me, you do not need a tower!

  3. Please get rid of your dopy and dope addicted Mobile Phones. Then these or the vast majority of these dopy towers will have to go. That is to be pulled down. I got rid of my dopy mobile phone as it was giving me shocking head-aches in the end after nearly five years of use. Lucky I don’t seem to have brain cancer so-far. A mobile phone is actually a type of Electronic Teddy Bear for boys and men and for girls and women a type of Electronic Dolly, simple as that. Get rid of this modern form of DOPE and you’ll have more time in the day to do important things. You’ll save more money and feel better, I know ‘cos I got rid of my Electronic Teddy some four years ago.


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