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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Day 3 – 5G protesters still objecting

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5G protesters in Mullumbimby say they plan to continue their opposition to 5G. Photo Ewan Willis.

Aslan Shand

In a town like Mullumbimby, that is known for questioning the accepted norms, it is no surprise that Telstra’s attempt to roll out 5G in the town has led to protesters coming onto the streets – COVID-19 or not. So were Telstra acting responsibly when they chose to install 5G in Mullum during the COVID-19 crisis?

Local Labor MP Justine Elliott in a recent statement said, ‘I strongly advise locals that any public gatherings or protests at this stage contravenes laws relating to social distancing during the Coronavirus crisis.’

‘Disregarding of social distancing directives endangers the health and safety of the wider community, Telstra staff and the police.’

Yet she makes no mention of any responsibility that lies at Telstra’s feet in relation to their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telstra respond

Responding to questions from Echonetdaily Telstra have pointed out that they have ‘commenced the rollout of 5G in 32 cities around Australia. Our rollout has been focused on cities, regional centres and high traffic areas with a view to offering 5G to as many of our customers as fast as possible’.

As with the tower in Main Arm that was strongly objected to by the local community, the upgrade was facilitated by legislation that sidelines the chance of local councils and community objections being seriously taken into account.

Work to upgrade the existing base station in Mullumbimby to 5G technology is in accordance with Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 and is therefore exempt from local and state government approval,’ a Telstra spokesperson said.

‘We have also met our obligations to progress the build at this site, including community notification in accordance with the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code C564:2018.

‘Information to assist with timings and context is as follows: Plans to build the Mullumbimby site specifically were communicated to the council on 28 February.

‘A notice was placed in the Byron Shire News on 20 February. Community submissions were due to close on 5 March; however due to community interest we extended the date to 18 March. We also sent a text message to the community advising that the build will not commence until the community feedback process has been finalised. That process was finalised on 21 April.’

Telstra did not respond to the further questions from Echonetdaily, asking‘Did Telstra consider the health implications of rolling out 5G in Mullumbimby when they could not have failed to understand that it would bring people onto the streets in protest?, and ‘Will Telstra be stopping the roll out of 5G in Mullumbimby and surrounds until after the COVID-19 pandemic so that they are no longer putting residents, protesters and workers at risk?’

Protest risks not urgent?

Telstra’s decision to go ahead with the work in Mullumbimby was taken despite the fact the Byron Shire Council have a current ‘moratorium on support for the installation of 5G,’ according to Councillor Sarah Ndiaye.

In yesterday’s Council meeting Ms Ndiaye attempted to move a urgency motion ‘to call on Telstra to stop work on the Dalley St tower until such time as the community complaint to ACMA has been addressed and the COVID-19 social distancing measures have been lifted.’ However, the move was kyboshed when a majority of councillors voted not to debate the issue because it was not ‘urgent’ enough.

Locals: ‘not safe’

In response to the roll out the local Environment and Communities Safe From Radiation (ECSFR) group have issued what they call a ‘cease and desist notice’ to Dr Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer for the Australian government. They state that his claims in his press release of 24 January that 5G technology is safe ‘may result in personal harm and economic loss’.

ECSFR chair Steve Toneguzzo says that there is a risk of harm, health effects, inadequate research, inability to measure exposures, a lack of understanding on exposure, a failure in risk communication, and a WHO potential carcinogen classification. Altogether these factors do NOT equal safe.’


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23 COMMENTS

  1. “not ‘urgent’ enough”
    Really councillors? The community is splitting itself in two on the issue and people are willing to Disregarding of social distancing directives.

  2. Thanks to Councillor Sarah Ndiaye. No thanks to the other Councillors who decided that the safety of people in Mullum was not urgent.

  3. Really Folks, You have just been given a Loud message by your Elected Green Councillors. ITS NOT A PROBLEM. Isolate in Alfoil.

  4. I can’t believe so many people seem not to have woken up to the grandiose high-minded statements of principle from some councillors, from the safety of a complete lack of jurisdiction to do anything: Adani, Australia Day, Julian Assange, 5g roll-out etc. I’m not against Councils making position statements on national issues but we need to be aware of the roles and powers of the three tiers of government. We are also entitled to expect standards of consistency of principle across decisions for which they do have jurisdiction.

  5. Protesters are more likely to suffer from failing to observe social distancing rules than they are from 5g radiation.

  6. Council do have jurisdiction over environmental and community health, as delegated by the State. ACMA/ARPANSA are not health or environmental regulators. So says the Constitution.

  7. The hurried rollout of the “smartgrid” precisely directional all encompassing surveillance technology is distinctly missing from all mainstream news, and is being done despite council’s moratorium, and despite already known widespread community opposition,
    during a time when we are prevented from gathering or publicly showing our objection, and whilst we are locked away, so most don’t even see what’s happening. What a filthy business.

  8. Installing 5G a military weapon known to devastate the immune system that comes with zero health assurances or testing is considered an essential service during this pandemic? Wake up everybody.

  9. Two of the most urgent matters to face our planet right now – the covid19 situation and the 5G rollout when we have zero conclusive evidence of the safety of this technology. And the councillors deem it “not urgent enough.” Come on Byron Council. What does it take? We call for you to protect and stand up for our community now. Back your own moratorium.

  10. The flight from reason recognises no lockdown. Perhaps they should wear more crystals.
    Then, as with the crystal sets of old, they’ll be able to hear all the secret messages being broadcast from the 5G Lizard overlords to their minions in government.

  11. “ Dr Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer for the Australian government. They state that his claims in his press release of 24 January that 5G technology is safe “
    Well if 5G is safe then why is it uninsurable..?
    Why won’t LLOYDS insure the Telcos against electromagnetic radiation and its effects on health….?

  12. Sounds like anti vaccers are now anti 5g… do some basic research from credible sources and realise 5g is safe and move onto actual real issues like climate change and corruption in politics.

  13. Be warned citizens of of Mullum your alfoil hats will protect you from from the dreaded 5G but not from the pestilence. Spread out!

  14. Jayro, whilst “climate change” is a purely political terminology, weather modification geoengineering AND natural weather patterns are real, and potential health effects of 5G have by no means been ruled out, so this rollout would be a nonconsensual experiment upon the people. But I agree about the corruption and would call the current behaviours of the non constitutional government corporation/s tyrannical in nature, and not democratic, nor in the true interests of the populace they govern.

  15. Spot on Jayro – and shame on the Echo for giving these wilful fools a platform week after week. Enough. The anti- 5G mob are our equivalent of the US protestors demanding an end to the pandemic protection measures. Please stop it now, your are deeply embarrassing us all and making fools of yourselves.

  16. The reporting here of what went down with Thursday’s Council ‘urgency motion’ is a bit distorted. An ‘urgency motion’ is needed when an urgent situation arises – urgent enough to put aside the usual requirement for the required notice and publication on the agenda. It’s designed to stop issues being sprung on councillors and perhaps whisked through without the opportunity for prior scrutiny and needs to be used stringently.

    Council did not vote down a motion to: ‘call on Telstra to stop work on the Dalley St tower until such time as the community complaint to ACMA has been addressed and the COVID-19 social distancing measures have been lifted’. They voted down putting the matter up for debate. It’s a bit unfair to make assumptions about why the majority of councillors voted this way when previously they voted unanimously for a moratorium. There is no debate allowed as to whether to allow the urgency motion – its an instant show of hands so we can’t know why.

    Perhaps it was because the matter had been discussed already and Council had done all within its jurisdiction. Further discussion might give further fuel to the uninformed view that Telstra had contravened some ‘ruling’ of their democratically elected Council. Maybe they thought grandstanding might further inflame the situation. I think it’s a pity we don’t know their reasons but we shouldn’t just make conjecture about them.

  17. 5g was installed durring lockdown without our knowledge and In the evening and people are suggesting that the protesters are breaking social distancing. Are you serious! People have a right to fight for thier health families town.

  18. Yuk – what a garbled 1st par. Sorry, try again. The requirement for a councillor to provide notice of an intended motion – and publish it on the agenda for public view – is designed to give opportunity for scrutiny and research. To allow for exceptional circumstances a councillor can ask that normal procedure be bypassed ( via an urgency motion) so they can that introduce without this notice, a motion they want debated. The justification of this deviation from procedure is usually that an issue couldn’t have been predicted in time, is urgent and that a decision shouldn’t be delayed.

    If councillors decide an issue fits the requirements they vote to allow the matter to be debated (pass the urgency motion) – then they debate the councillor’s motion. If they don’t pass the urgency motion the matter goes no further. No debate occurs for or against the merits of the motion being allowed without notice on the agenda.

    So it’s a bit of a stretch to say the majority councillors didn’t see the situation in Mullum as concerning, even urgent whatever. They rejected the motion as acceptable for late notice debate. It would be interesting to know why but they get get the chance to explain.

  19. A former Telstra technician stole a tank and destroyed two 4G towers a few years ago in protest because he felt guilty that he was responsible for the damage they cause. I recommend watching this short news report about him: https://youtu.be/0TiOx7_DVj0

    It’s been known for years mobile phones cause brain tumours so it’s pretty simple really…”Electromagnetic radiation mediates its effects through calcium “channels” in the cells. Here is perhaps the most comprehensive study on this topic to date, discussing that mechanism”: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcmm.12088/full

  20. i’ve heard that 5g wave frequencies can kill off the deadly corona-virus, perhaps the local medical centre can install a 5g wave diffuser.

  21. It’s sad people who promote 5G and laugh at those who don’t have no evidence behind them. Look on ARPANSA website who admit they have not done any extensive research to date on 5G. Go to their site please! They admit It’s new technology and even acknowledge some individuals have experienced from current EMF exposures ‘ health symptoms’ ! .Give me the research it’s safe (not references to short exposure like police radar and airport scans, show me Proper study of 24 hour exposure on the body by a nearby tower please) and then you’ll convince me.

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