Byron Shire Councillors received applause from the public gallery after a decision regarding a proposed 5G tower.
Byron Shire Councillors received applause from the public gallery after a decision regarding a proposed 5G tower.

Applause from public after council’s urgent 5G motion

BYRON Shire Councillors were met with applause when they voted to make a late submission to Telstra regarding its 5G tower planned for Mullumbimby.

In an urgency motion brought before the council’s planning meeting yesterday, councillors voted unanimously to immediately contact Telstra and request the company considers a late submission from the council “due to the fact that council had not met since the submission period commenced”.

That submission period ended this week.
They unanimously agreed that the council “does not currently support the proposed upgrade that will facilitate 5G technologies and continues to support a moratorium on the installation of 5G technology infrastructure” until information previously requested of is provided.

The information sought by the council includes:

  • Identification of and commitment by a State or Federal Government body to do a comprehensive review of the cumulative impacts of the 5G technology
  • Identification of who holds responsibility for the ongoing monitoring of any cumulative impacts
  • Commitment from the State Government to review the current planning processed for the installation of small cells and consideration of any possible improvements

Deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye said concerns about the infrastructure, proposed to be installed behind the Mullumbimby Post Office, included its proximity to schools and a school bus stop and that it was within 50m of a grey-headed flying fox colony which was “only recently re-established itself” after drought and fire impacts.

She stressed the council chambers sit within 500m of the site proposed for the 5G infrastructure.

“We’re in uncertain times at the moment, for our community and a lot of communities around the world,” she said.

“There’s a lot of concern around this.

“There’s no one who’s monitoring this.

“There’s just too many questions.”
A member of the public who spoke to the council during public access urged them to follow “precautionary principals”.

Mayor Simon Richardson said it was “a vexed issue” and said it was “really hard” to determine how widely-spread opposition to 5G was across the shire’s communities.

He pointed out they were following scientists’ advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) but doubting experts’ views 5G doesn’t cause harm.

“If there was a 5G tower 100 metres from my house what would I do?” he said.

“To be honest, it wouldn’t really bother me.”

But Cr Richardson said he had “reservations” as there were questions unanswered after a federal inquiry into the deployment, adoption and application of 5G in Australia.

The six members of the public gallery applauded when they resolved to contact Tesltra and oppose the tower without further information.