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Byron Shire
May 20, 2024

Main Arm NBN tower to go ahead

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The proposed tower will be similar in height and structure to the tower NBN tower in Coorabell. Photo supplied.

In another case of a community being ignored, NBN are going ahead with a 45-metre data tower for Main Arm.

NBN says they sent letters to residents within two kilometres of the site, yet there are a significant number of households within that range that didn’t get notification.

One of the main concerns is the proposed tower’s proximity to not one but two school boundaries.

The education department policy is that telecommunications infrastructure of this sort should not be placed within 500 metres of any school, yet this structure will be closer than 500 metres to Durrumbul Public School and Durrumbul Community Pre-School.

Many residents in the surrounding areas say they had no notification about the tower and those who have responded against the proposal say they are not being heard.

Spokesperson for the residents, Anton Vanderbyl, says that it comes as no surprise that NBN are ignoring the expressed majority community will.

‘They are proceeding with what is now essentially a threat to deliver a service that will emit an uninsurable toxic pollutant into the Main Arm environment and cause fear of harm to its inhabitants.

‘Governments have now legislated away any valid means by which communities can object to an assault such as this and have substituted perfunctory and dismissive consultation instead.

‘However the outdated standard which NBN claims to comply with does not operate in isolation of the legal framework, therefore actions in this direction, now the only recourse, are now in play.’

In response to a repeated request from The Echo asking how many submissions were received and how many for, and how many against, there was silence from NBN Co.

A spokesperson, did manage to say that ‘NBN Co has carefully reviewed and responded to 25 community submissions regarding the Main Arm Fixed Wireless facility.

‘After careful consideration of the feedback, the construction of the tower will proceed to provide more than 150 premises in the region necessary access to broadband, which is well above those services currently available across the Byron Hinterland where ADSL speeds are amongst the lowest ranking in the country.

NBN Co is finalising design work and construction will be scheduled thereafter. It’s anticipated the facility will be in operation by September 2019.


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  1. This is another case of ignoring an noisy ill informed group in favour the technical advice provided by a body qualified to give it: ARPANSA . It is unsurprising to read they cannot insure against the risk; it would be unethical of any insurance company to insure against a risk when none exists. It is high time community leaders call out the habit of ignoring qualified advice on a variety of subjects, something that very rarely occurred before half educated newcomers took up residence in this area and decided they knew what was better for us all.

  2. Noooooooooooo! I am horrified and outraged!
    I was living at Wilsons Creek and was thrilled the tower was rejected.
    Then we moved to Main Arm.
    I never considered it would go ahead, considering it’s such a known health risk in such close proximity to a school and preschool, when the science shows children are more prone to the adverse health effects. I am shocked. I feel so mad. I have a 5 year old. The last thing we want to do is have to move, when there is such a rental crisis. I am appalled that my child’s right to a healthy future is being jeopardised, against my will!

    • What are you so angry for?

      There is no legitimate peer reviewed evidence to show RF put out at the power levels of towers has any effect on humans at all.

      You receive more RF from the phone you use everyday.

  3. ARPANSA (the government regulator) ADVISE THE PRODUCT IS SAFE, YET THEIR OWN STANDARD DOES NOT SAY IT IS SAFE…see below quotes.

    To Quote ARPANSA and the Radiation Protection Standard of 2002:
    “There is currently a level of concern about RF exposure, which is not fully alleviated by existing scientific data. It is true that data regarding biological effects, at levels below the limits specified in the Standard, are incomplete and inconsistent. THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS FOR THESE DATA ARE NOT KNOWN ”. (capitals added).

    Moreover, the ARPANSA Standard states: “It is recognised that the Standard does not operate in isolation from the legal framework within Australia.” (That is, assaulting children with a toxic pollutant for profit is not socially, morally or legally acceptable. Nor is misleading the general public in terms of trade practices (if risk is not overtly disclosed), and nor is misleading shareholders in terms of corporations law (if “Harm to EH&S from EMR” is not listed as a material risk in annual reports to shareholders).

    There are over 20,000 peer reviewed scientific reports that show this technology is toxic to life, and today we have a cumulative effect from being surrounded by multiple Wi-Fi, Cordless, Mobile Phones and Cell towers. Now think of a child (or teacher) in a classroom for 6hrs a day, 5 days a week. We are also speaking of OH&S and worker’s compensation concerns here.

    I sincerely hope that Main Arm becomes the Class Action this country needs to expose any possible corruption and pure greed at the expense of our children’s futures.

    • ARPANSA’s 2019 advice is unequivocal.

      The ARPANSA Standard is designed to protect people of all ages and health status against all known adverse health effects from exposure to RF EME. The ARPANSA Standard is based on scientific research that shows the levels at which harmful effects occur and it sets limits, based on international guidelines, well below these harmful levels.


      No adverse health effects are expected from continuous exposure to the RF EME emitted by the antennas on mobile phone base stations.

      ARPANSA will continue to review the research into potential health effects of RF EME emissions from mobile phone base stations and other sources in order to provide accurate and up-to-date advice.

  4. The community of Lillian Rock managed to stop the recent proposed 50m telstra tower by blockading the site. Not sure where the proposed site is, but maybe the community of Main Arm needs to do the same thing and send a loud and clear message…..The concern is that once the tower is installed other forms of wireless technology can easily be added such as 5G and it will be a lot harder to reverse…..

    • If Ama ‘can’t wait’ for the radiation from this tower, it is possible to experience the 10 watts of microwave radiation the ARPANSA standard says is safe to be exposed to 24/7. Simply take the door of a microwave oven, turn it on and sit 5 meters in front of it 24/7 , this is what the ARPANSA says is safe…

  5. “In another case of a community being ignored”, another story is published about a “spokesperson for the residents” despite a lack of any actual substantiation.

    I’m glad the tower is being built. It will help a lot of us.
    But I AM sceptical about the health impacts, in that I don’t actually think cell towers are as safe as claimed.
    But I think the reaction to this tower has been a bit disproportionate.

    In the end though, the thing that frustrates me most is the level of populism and false representation all around this. I’d love to have a good conversation about this with someone who can hold their emotions in check.

    • I wonder how much research insurance companies do. When I exchanged contracts on my house in Ballina there had recently been some tidal flooding on Ballina island and the major company I had used refused to insure the home. The house sits a atop a ridge in Cumbalum! Now while I suggest all of us need to acknowledge our sins and transgressions, I did not use the advice of the insurance company to conclude that the second Biblical flood was nigh, preferring the reliable advice prepared by government that showed land high in Cumbalum would not flood in the worst 100 year scenario.

      Similarly I am confident of the advice of ARPANSA.

  6. Pulsed microwaves are also far more dangerous than microwaves. Pulsed means they switch on and off intermittently. This is toxic to biology as the cells cannot defend against it

    If this kind of radiation is safe, why are institutions all around the world banning it? Why did a court in Florence rule just a few weeks ago, it had to be removed from a school on behalf of only ONE child in the whole school?
    Israel, US, Canada, France, there is a long list of countries banning Wi Fi from schools and public institutions
    And, yes, it has been declared a carcinogen, offiically, by W.HO.

    So, Mr Hatfield and everyone declaring it ‘safe’ – claiming that ARPANSA and insurance companies know more than everyone. Well, with billions of dollars in support from an unregulated telco industry – of course they are going to be in support of it. Oh – that’s right – insurances companies are ethical, honest, and interested in the rights of humans

    • I have not declared the tower safe – I am not qualified to do so. I have referred readers to the advice of ARPANSA which is fully funded by the Commonwealth government, and provides advice at arms length from government.

  7. Mr Hatfield and company, unless you are willing to back up your ‘NIMBY’ arguments by going and living within 500metres of the tower like the children in the schools – we don’t want to hear your arguments any more. Will you put your children in such schools, with that exposure? Do you even live in Main Arm or is this just a great excuse to cut everyone down?

    • I am not sure what the point of your comment is. If a microwave tower was built near my property I would have no objection; my children went to school near a microwave tower and again neither I no anyone else objected. I have no reason to disagree with the advice of ARPANSA that it is safe.

      My point is to try and push back on the lack of regard among some people in this area for well constituted, qualified and governed agencies in Australia. I was born and bred in the Byron Shire and it is one of the unhappy developments some new settlers have brought to it.

  8. What amazes me about this is that it’s a 4G tower and the Anti-5G mob have jumped on board to oppose it. Many are possibly using their 4G phones or broadband connections with decent internet connections to rally against this on Facebook.
    They’ll probably throw up the argument ‘but it could be upgraded to 5G’ without any underlying knowledge of the frequency spectrums that can be used for 5G.
    Enjoy your fast internet connections while some in the region struggle to operate a business or get material online to help with their kid’s or their own education.

  9. I live very close to the proposed NBN tower. I do not have the need for faster and better network, risking the health of our family. I object being exposed to radiation against my will.

  10. I live in the close proximity of the proposed NBN tower and I am against it as I believe it is not free of health risks. I do not have a need for a faster or better network so why should I be exposed to harmful radiation???
    Why is a company allowed to force their radiation on people who do not want it??


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