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July 20, 2024

Emergency tower works stopped

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Installation of an emergency services mobile tower on a popular visitor look-out in Wilsons Creek is on hold, after a local NSW MP raised concerns that the area had been misidentified as regrowth.

According to ecologist James Barrie, NSW Telco Authority had begun drilling concrete footings at Teales Lookout, near Boogarem Falls, on Koonyum Range Road in Mount Jerusalem National Park.

Greens MLC, Sue Higginson wrote to consent authority, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), and NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, Penny Sharpe (Labor) to ask that works be stopped immediately, as she believed unique and rare ecosystems were at risk.

A NPWS spokesperson told The Echo, ‘The matters raised are currently under examination by the NPWS’.

‘No further work on the site is being carried out while these matters are being considered’.

The Echo understands the site was selected for a Government Radio Network (GRN) after extensive testing by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) communications unit, as it gave the best coverage to all the surrounding valleys. 

Rubbish, camping

The location was also chosen because a security camera could be installed on the tower given illegal camping, campfires and rubbish dumped at the lookout.

Ms Higginson said in her letter, ‘These reports suggest that the works being carried out in Mount Jerusalem National Park are undertaken on an at-risk vegetation community, montane heathland, that exists nowhere else in the world’.

‘The main plant in the understory is a clumping sedge that doesn’t occur anywhere else in the whole region…’

‘I recognise the tremendous public importance of enhancing the Public Safety Network, but we must undertake its expansion only with a clear and legal understanding, assessment and approval of the ecosystems we are impacting’.

The NSW Telco Authority, who proposed the tower, was contacted for comment.

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