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Byron Shire
September 23, 2021

5G complaint squashed by telco watchdog

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Paul Bibby

The communications watchdog has refused to investigate alleged breaches of telecommunications law by Telstra in relation to the installation of 5G technology in Mullumbimby.

In response to a complaint from anti-5G campaigners who detailed a raft of alleged breaches, the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) said it had made ‘preliminary enquiries’ and concluded that this is ‘not a matter that the ACMA should investigate’.

Protesters at an anti-5G rally in Mullumbimby. Image Jeff Dawson

‘During our enquiries we sought, and obtained, information from Telstra about their compliance with the Deployment Code,’ ACMA Telecommunications Engineer, Andrew Sabo, said in an email to anti-5G group Northern Rivers for Safe Technology.

‘We used this information as the basis upon which we assessed their compliance in relation to their proposed upgrade at this site.’

The response is a slap in the face for the members of Northern Rivers for Safe Technology who have been fighting to stop 5G being installed on Telstra’s tower at 95 Dalley Street.

They have maintained 24/7 monitoring of the site for the past 15 weeks in a bid to ensure that Telstra does not undertake the installation when no one is looking.

In an extended complaint to the watchdog they set out a range of alleged breaches of the Deployment Code, the key law relating to the installation of telecommunications infrastructure.

They alleged that the limited pubic notification published by Telstra, failed to provide an adequate description of the proposed facility.

‘It is Telstra’s usual practice, when proposing to upgrade towers to 5G, to state in their public notification that “5G antennas” will be installed,’ the complaint said.

‘However, in this instance, “5G” is notably absent from the description of the proposed works.’

The campaigners further alleged that Telstra failed to provide accurate contact details for public feedback.

‘The public notice provided the following address for submissions: PO Box 2777, Brisbane, QLD, 4001.’

Petitions returned by Telstra unopened

‘During the submissions period, we sent a parcel of 268 signed petitions to that address. Although Australia Post’s tracking shows the parcel was delivered to that PO Box address, it was subsequently Returned to Sender.

‘If our parcel was returned to sender, how many other community submissions that were sent to this address were not received by Telstra?’

There were a range of other complaints, including that the telco ignored its obligation to consider comments received from the community, and that they failed to respond to reasonable requests for information.

But ACMA declined to accept any of the complaints as reasonable grounds to conduct a detailed investigation.

‘We do not agree that the ACMA’s assessment was in any way biased or unreasonable and maintain that all appropriate regulatory functions have been conducted in the appropriate manner,’ Mr Sabo said.

He further indicated that the watchdog’s decision was not subject to judicial review or internal reconsideration.

Rinat Strahlhofer from Northern Rivers for Safe Technology said the fact that ACMA was set to collect $5 billion next year from the sale of wireless licences to telcos, while at the same time holding responsibility for regulating the same companies, represented a conflict of interest.

‘Locals aren’t even being considered by ACMA,’ Ms Strahlhofer said.

‘So many customers and businesses have requested access to safer, more secure, fibre-optic hardwired connections, and are being ignored. ACMA are the Telco regulators and can’t even do their job properly due to their conflict of interest.’

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  1. time for all the nut cases to return into their fantasy world shell and let the rest of us enjoy better communications especially during those testing times when we have to work from home and have not got time to keep a fruitless vigil on vital communications towers

    • Arco, we need people who question everything. You think you are right and the protestors think they are right, how on earth does name calling help? Tolerance for alternate opinions is fast becoming extinct.

      It might annoy you “especially during those testing times when we have to work from home” but it sounds like your version of testing times is…..well a little different than what many of us would consider testing.

      We could all benefit from speaking with older folk about testing times & tolerance of those who think a little differently than ourselves.

      BTW – it is known that high levels of electromagnetic radiation can cause detrimental health effects & death.

      Regarding 5G, experts suggests that there is no evidence that low levels of electromagnetic radiation are harmful. So at what point does it become harmful, over what exposure period? How long have studies & data been collected and by whom? vested or non-vested interests?

      Very easy to disregard and get narky with the questioner Arco, a little harder to find the truth which is usually somewhere in the middle of the facts presented by ALL participating parties.

  2. Really..these people…in 18months time many of them will have 5G phones and not even think twice.
    I suppose they don’t look under their kitchen sink or in their laundry…enough chemicals to strike fear into any HAZMAT team…

  3. Arco Iris: Oh, if only!

    These conspiracy theorists, / at best half informed by fact and science (not the Fakebook variety), bang on about not wanting to live with “dangerous technology” – yet they live readily enough with electricity, TV, machines, motor vehicles, planes, propane bottles (too often jerry rigged to makeshift kitchens!) … all “dangerous technology”, like sorta half-baked nimbys.

    I’m looking forward to Musk’s Starlink service. WTF will that be – 12G? Bring it on!

  4. Some of us moved to Mullum to get out of the soup of city microwaves. Not from fear or ignorance but to stop the ringing in their ears from those exposures. Do you really want this beautiful little country town to become a Smart City with cameras everywhere cataloging all your faces? My hats off to those wishing to preserve what’s good & unique about Mullumbimby with its minimal polution. Even the water supply is Flouride free.

  5. Only money is allowed to talk, as bloody always.
    “Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question everything that they read. Teach them to question everything.” George Carlin

  6. When 5g is being imposed on a community who have consistently demanded, as is their right, to. prove the safety and moral efficacy of said imposition and have been met with subterfuge, deceit, and dishonest practice and our elected officials appear to support the perpetrators not those who elect them and pay their salaries, the gall of this enterprise beggars belief. To continue to pretend that we live in a democracy when our elected officials turn their backs on those they purport to represent, then democracy is being replaced with hypocrisy. Only a concerted effort by a majority of community representatives to protest this attempt to impose this abomination on what was 40-50 years ago, renown as a community which banded together in moral outrage to exercise responsible environmental protest to protect the moral compass which was the Northern Rivers after the Aquarius Festival set the moral compass. Where are they now.


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