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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

5G protests in Byron, while councillors sit on fence

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‘When one leg’s on one side of the fence and the other leg is on the other side, you end up sitting on it.’

This comment from Byron Councillor Michael Lyon aptly summarised the Council’s response to Telstra’s plans for a 5G upgrade close to two daycare centres in the Arts and Industry Estate.

Protestors take to the streets to oppose plans for a 5G installation in the Byron industrial estate. Image Jeff Dawson

The proposed upgrade to the tower at 8 Acacia Street has drawn strong objections from many locals living and working nearby, as well as 5G opponents across the Shire.

But Byron Council’s feedback to Telstra on the issue was more about fence-sitting than fighting for a cause.

There were stark divisions among councillors during a lengthy debate at last week’s Council planning meeting, and in the end they unanimously avoided taking a position on whether or not the upgrade should go ahead.

A motion, put by Cr Michael Lyon, and seconded by Greens Cr Sarah Ndiaye, reads, ‘Council… recognises that the low impact facility complies with the current Australian government regulations in relation to emission of electromagnetic energy’. 

Council also requested a ‘commitment by a state or federal government body to do a comprehensive review of the cumulative impacts of the 5G technology’ and asked who held responsibility for monitoring any such impacts.

Finally, the Council indicated its ‘preference’ for fibre optic cable as a ‘more equitable’ and less intrusive technology for internet provision.

Though the eight councillors present at the meeting voted for the motion, it did not appear to align with the stated positions of any of them.

Mayor supports 5G

Earlier, Labor councillor Paul Spooner unsuccessfully moved a motion offering unqualified support for the 5G upgrade.

‘I want to speak as a student of science who’s interested in what’s really best for our community’, Cr Spooner said.

‘Mobile technology is a non-ionising form of technology. Mobile technologies are trying to do good in our community by doing things like delivering E-health services.

Up to 200 people attended the protest in the Byron industrial estate. Image Jeff Dawson

‘I really think we should be supporting these efforts in our community, rather than just listening to the fears in our community that are reflecting some pretty nefarious sources’.

Greens Mayor Simon Richardson, and Alan Hunter supported this motion, but the others opposed it.

Receiving somewhat more support, but also ultimately being defeated, was a motion from fellow Green Sarah Ndiaye opposing the plan.

‘We’re here to represent our community, and I think it’s clear that there is considerable opposition to this plan out there’, Cr Ndiaye said.

She also pointed out that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency’s (ARPANSA) statements that 5G technology was safe, were accompanied by a significant qualification.

ARPANSA advice

‘If you go onto ARPANSA’s website, they say we are not a health body, and that they don’t take responsibility for the advice they provide’, Cr Ndiaye said.

Earlier, the meeting heard from local mother and investor Claire Alexander-Johnston who said current internet speeds were ‘absolutely adequate’ for tech-based companies in the Arts & Industrial estate.

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      • Its crazy that this still goes on. People protested against 4g and 3g saying the exact same thing it will damage your brain and all this nonsense, but their hasn’t been any solid evidence that these microwaves actually do anything to your brain.

  1. This is absurd- there are enough real environmental issues to be worried about, without engaging in crazy conspiracy theories

  2. ARPANSA’s Radiation Health Safety and Advisory Council is a cross disciplinary team of medical and radiation expertise and chaired by Dr Roger Allison, Executive Director Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and it also includes Dr Jane Canestra, Medical practitioner and emergency physician with expertise in the health aspects of radiological emergencies
    Prof Adele Green, Head, Cancer and Population Studies Group, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Prof Pamela Sykes, Professor Preventive Cancer Biology, Flinders University, and
    Dr Melanie Taylor, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney. What an insult to those professionals to dismiss them as “not a health body” . Cr Ndiaye has no expertise in radiation and health, and nor does Byron Council, let alone the 5G protestors who showed their contempt for public health by breaching the health orders and protesting during the height of the lockdown, and whose spokesperson is a so called “building biologist ” exposed by ABC Media Watch for posing as an expert in radiation medicine
    Telcoms is a Commonwealth matter and we are fortunate they are advised by a body as qualified as ARPANSA. Instead of bowing to pressure from popular celebrities and irresponsible protrstors, it’s time ouncillors focused on its responsibilities with regard to the serious health issues in our region like high levels of cycling and motor vehicle accidents; tobacco , alcahol and other drug abuse; and NSW’s highest rates of skin cancer – ironically from the truly dangerous radiation, the sun.

    • Spot on Peter Hatfield. Genuine credible scientific information is best used to ascertain the correct direction we should be moving forward and it looks like ARPANSA has it. Only a small amount of people at this protest in relation to the size of our community which hopefully is a telltale that 5G conspiracy theorists are a minority.

      • Peter’ apologises but his eyes aren’t great and he can’t work out how to make the spell checker work on his laptop. He does note though that his name is normally spelt with a capital.

    • Indeed ARPANSA make it clear in their disclaimer that the information they produce
      is for advice only:

      Nothing contained in this site is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not
      intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used
      for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice.
      ARPANSA does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of
      or reliance on the information.”

      • Peter’ apologises but his eyes aren’t great and he can’t work out how to make the spell checker work on his laptop. He does note though that his name is normally spelt with a capital.

  3. James and Peter, highly credible and INDEPENDENT scientific information comes from the Bioinitiative Report (www.bionitiative.org) which shows that 2G, 3G, and 4G are already unsafe so how could 5G (infinitely more powerfull) possibly be safe? Another site http://www.ehtrust.org shows negative impact on birds and bees of microwave technology all backed up with gold standard science. ARPANSA continually refers to this technology as ‘radiowaves’ while conveniently ignoring the fact that microwaves are incredibly shorter and infinitely more harmful. The original and natural human and earth frequency is 7.83 hz which is 7.83 wavelengths a second. Compare this with 5G which is up to 300 GHz, or 300 billion wavelengths a second hitting every cell of your body, including your brain. Microwaves are an assault on living beings. No wonder people feel so stressed, confused, unhappy, unhealthy and that our wildlife and even insects are disappearing exponentially.

  4. They have proven it to be safe. It’s just the tin hat brigade refuse to accept actual science, instead choose to believe nut job conspiracy theories they read on the internet. 🤦‍♀️

    • Wendzee please point to the studies proving 5G is safe. You can’t because this proof doesn’t exist.
      We are giving links to credible independent (non-industry) studies, how about you do the same?

  5. I’d love to comment but can see I’d simply be labelled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ no matter how much evidence or rational mental viewpoint I may offer. I’ll just drop a link or two. Make your own decisions. DYOR.
    Military medical research.


    Seems the proof will be in the pudding again.
    Happy proofing.

  6. ARPANSA-ICNIRP ‘s page on “codes and standards”: https://www.arpansa.gov.au/regulation-and-licensing/regulatory-publications/radiation-protection-series/codes-and-standards , clearly shows that this organisation is only interested in protections against ionising radiation, but here:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20171117233848/http://www.bioinitiative.org:80/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/RFR-11_28-research-summary.pdf ; you will find a pdf document detailing hundreds, if not a thousand studies, pointing to biological damage from non-ionising radiation.
    The website by ARPANSA looks like it is written by lawyers to protect the interests of the industry not of the living land and it’s lifeforms.


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