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.’