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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Telstra ignores 5G opposition

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Paul Bibby

The controversial roll-out of Telstra’s 5G network across the Shire has taken another step forward, with the announcement of a new proposed installation in the heart of Byron Bay.

As opposition to the upgrades continues to boil, the telco announced its intention to upgrade its existing mobile tower on the corner of Fletcher Street and Williams Lane in last week’s advertisment in The Echo.

Simon McLean from Periwinkle Preschool and Krissy Martin from Byron Busy Kids childcare. Photo Jeff Dawson

That announcement also invited the community to make written submissions in relation to the plan. 

Yet the submission process has been criticised as a token gesture rather than genuine consultation, with Telstra yet to answer questions from The Echo regarding the degree to which community submissions are taken into account.

8 Acacia St site approved

5G opponents have expressed anger and dismay at the latest proposed installation, which is the eleventh proposed 5G upgrade in the Shire.

‘Byron Bay PS is just 300 metres from this tower,’ safe technology activist Rinat Strahlhofer said.

‘Of all the 11 proposed 5G upgrades, five are within a 500m radius of a school or child care centre, which goes against Department of Education policy’.

The group that Ms Strahlhofer co-founded, Northern Rivers for Safe Technology, is also continuing its fight against the proposed 5G upgrade in the Byron A&I Estate, which is within 500 metres of a pre-school and childcare centre.

This is despite the fact that Telstra told the group on November 10 that it intends to go ahead with the upgrade, ignoring hundreds of letters of opposition.

Landowner of the tower site, Andrew Simmons, is yet to reply to Echo questions around community concerns. According to a land title search of 8 Acacia Street, Mr Simmons is co-owner with Peta Sarah Lloyd-Harris. 

The Echo also asked to confirm whether the Simmons family are still part of Site R&D, which is the ‘local’ landowner consortium pushing to develop West Byron against considerable public opposition.

Meanwhile, Ms Strahlhofer said a movement was building among school communities who opposed upgrades that were in close proximity to educational institutions.

‘Periwinkle [pre-school], Cape Byron, Busy Kids, Byron Public are now informing parents to help hold a vigil to ensure no technicians come to upgrade the towers to 5G,’ she said.

‘Telstra are in for a PR nightmare – if their technicians and equipment show up in Byron, a red alert will be sent out and concerned parents and concerned community members will take to the streets to prevent this upgrade.

‘Protecting our children and community is more important than faster [internet] speeds.’

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  1. As a father with children at Byron Bay PS, a long time local, and a person with a brain who can comprehend scientific concepts, I welcome Telstra’s upgrades in Byron. In a modern society we need modern technology which is proven as safe and internationally approved, and this rubbish opposition is simply recalcitrant. Naturally, I expect this post will be followed by a tirade of ill-informed, misguided and one-sided commentary, but that’s why we have Courts in this country to decide outcomes, not mob-justice.

  2. I guess the alternative to 5G and the struggling NBN, is that we all dramatically scale back our demands and usage of “cloud” and social media uploads of photos and videos, and streaming movies and hi-def online gaming etc. etc.


  3. I’m a periwinkle parent and Byron homeowner and I support the 5G rollout. It’s not controversial at all if you understand it 🙂

  4. Remember when some folks made a huge palaver about 4G? Turns out there’s nothing wrong with it at all, and anyone with a mobile phone is using it. Worried about radio waves? Well, if you already have a TV, a radio, you go anywhere near an airport, use a wireless modem… you’re already exposing yourself to these radio waves. If you’re that bothered about it go and live in the middle of the Sahara. You’ll be “safe” there.

    Personally I think we should skip 5G because I’m really looking forward to 6G.

  5. 5 G is our answer to a bungling NBN and to reliable communication when will thous un and misinformed opponents pull their head out of the sand and start living in the 21st century

  6. Ionising and non ionising radiation are just higher or lower intensity levels of the same radiation (There is an artificial point that classes non ionising as only penetrating and heating skin , while ionising penetrates deeper.and is known to cause cell damage). 5G is acknowledged as ever so slightly heating up your skin. Technicians working on on lower intensity radiation facilities than the 5g transmitters (such as high intensity radio transmitters) can suffer burns. It is certainly not appropriate to have young children’s skin heated all day by being in schools near increased radiation emitters. Safe? Nobody knows how skin atoms, whizzing around non physically touching each other, transfers bodily functioning information to each other, or the impact on our atoms communication of this increasing radiation intensity from moving from 4G to 5G communication transmitters. Perhaps the supporters would like to have the roll out of the 5G repeater transmitters outside of their bedroom windows and report back in 10 years (you may be able to get away with one less blanket in winter). Unlikely to kill you, but who wants any extra radiation exposure?

    • If you’re scared of 5g might as well close your blindes because UV radiation that comes from the sun is higher up in the electromagnetic radiation range, and below that is visible light so… if you’re scared of 5g just know that visible light has got more energy

  7. There is a great deal being spoken about the health issues etc and I really have no opinion there however he 5g company that ‘rolls out’ the network has a board made up of 15 multi world wide billionaires .
    It is the biggest brother syndrome that needs addressing. Imagine every call, every location, your business and your personal habits, who are your associates and where you shop, what restaurants you enjoy, where you swim, surf or walk, etc etc . That’s is a big concern not legally but we need our right to freedom.

  8. This scaremongering about 5G is ridiculous. The Echo is usually an excellent and objective newspaper and should not be indulging these conspiracy theorists. The world has had enough trouble with anti-science extremists, what with climate change deniers and anti-vaxers

  9. What a bunch of ill informed idiots. The 5g technology actually has a reduced radiation path. If anything it would be safer.

  10. It’s sad to see a publication like the Echo trying to ‘create’ news by championing ill informed opinion pieces rather than journalism these days. Perhaps you’d struggle less and prosper more if you focused on doing your job and providing the area with objective journalism.


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