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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Wilsons Ck Telstra tower rejected

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Wilsons Creek locals and their supporters outside Byron Shire Council following the refusal of the Telstra tower development application. Photo supplied.

A unanimous vote by councillors at Thursday’s meeting (Sept 20)  has refused a development application (DA) for a 3G and 4G mobile tower in Wilsons Creek, located behind Mullumbimby.

The proposal for a Telstra mobile telecommunications facility, including a 35 metre monopole, six antennae and ancillary equipment drew fierce opposition from residents who claim that the ‘safe’ electromagnetic energy (EME) radiation levels specified by ARPANSA and the Australian government are in fact unsafe.  

Steve Toneguzzo spoke in morning access. A resident of Huonbrook for 13 years, Mr Toneguzzo is also is the chair of Environment and Community Safe from Radiation Inc (www.ECSFR.Com.au).

‘I applaud the [attitude toward the] precautionary principle taken by staff [in their report],’ he said, and noted the 114 objections.

During his speech against the DA, he produced a device that measures (EME) radiation, which then started bleeping loudly. He told the gallery that it the beeping sound indicated a very high and unsafe level of EME, and added that levels at a local Mullum cafe ‘were through the roof’.

As for concerns by a councillor that emergency mobile coverage will be inadequate for the area, Toneguzzo replied you can call 112 for an emergency on any mobile. He said, ‘They used to advertise that, but not anymore.’

During public access, a Telstra representative told the chamber the tower was proposed under the federal government’s blackspot scheme, in order to improve safety, improve access to services, and update technology.

‘It’s the best possible site,’ one Telstra representative said, adding that the tower’s emissions are within Australian EME standards. 

The Telstra representative said that they will not pursue the tower if rejected, leading to applause from the gallery.

Toneguzzo later said, ‘Rest assured that ECSFR will pursue the invocation of the UNESCO Rights of the Child and seek (in the first instance) the protection of children from harmful microwave radiation. Today a tiny but ecologically significant part of the planet has been preserved.’

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  1. Yet another triumph of noise over science in the Northern Rivers.

    The Byron Shire bows to these locals who are so much better qualified to understand emissions than the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency or the World Health Organization. Apparently the Shire councilors do not believe ARPANSA’S Radiofrequency Expert Panel – Dr Geza Benke (Epidemiology) Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Monash University, Vic; Professor Rodney Croft (Human provocation research) School of Psychology University of Wollongong, NSW; and Professor Andrew Wood (Biophysics) Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre Swinburne University of Technology, are not competent to examine the scientific evidence regarding possible health effects from broadcast towers, and come to their conclusion that current research indicates that there are no established health effects from the low RF EME exposure encountered by the public from broadcast towers.

    In the thirties, when he was headmaster at Murbah and Lismore High Schools, my grandfather gave wonderful talks on science to a receptive public audience. He would turn in his grave to see what strange epistemological approaches some people have brought to this area when dealing with technical matters like this .

    • The safety standard which Australia adheres to can easily be replicated by removing the door from a microwave oven, turning it on and if you stand 5 meters in front of it 24/7 you will be exposed to a level of radiation that the Government considers safe, go ahead and try it. If this technology is safe then insurance companies would provide cover for exposure, that they don’t is very telling…

      • I am unclear what point you are making, and what you claim is telling. As I point our ARPANSA is far better qualified than the residents of Wilson Creek, the Byron Shire Council, and I dare say you to advise us on what radiation is safe and what is not. If you do not agree you should raise your views with ARPANSA or in an academic paper , and provide us with the response from ARPANSA or any peer review.

    • A good summary Peter! Why don’t the residents just say they don’t want mobile coverage instead of masking it with voodoo science.

  2. Woo Hoo!
    Good work hippies. now go get on the gear while having your annual bath to cleanse yourself of the contamination of society you had to endure while down from your tree house.

  3. EME and safety concerns is not a planning consideration.

    This DA was recommended for refusal and subsequently rejected due to half a dozen other points of non-compliance to the Planning Scheme – none of which were associated with EME or safety concerns.

    Being a blackspot site funded by the Government, Telstra was never going to fight too hard or appeal the decision.


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