Greens Leader Bob Brown will today introduce the Telecommunications Amendment (Mobile Phone Towers) Bill 2011 into the Senate to provide a better balance between the power of telcos to put mobile phone antennae where they want and the views of communities affected.
"Mobile carriers can erect phone antennae on your land or close to where you live and there's not a lot you can do about it. We think there is room in the legislation to provide more information to communities and give them greater opportunities to object," Senator Brown said.
"We're requiring mobile carriers to take a precautionary approach to where facilities are installed in the absence of evidence that long-term accumulated exposure to electromagnetic radiation does not cause harm."
"At the moment 'low impact' facilities escape much of the regulation of 'high impact' towers but there is often little difference between the height of installations, and low impact facilities could potentially emit more EMR."
"Mobile carriers would be required to lodge a five year plan with councils showing where they want to install facilities, as well as maps that show the EMR emissions of antennae," Senator Brown said.
The bill would require:
• "low impact" mobile phone facilities to be subject to state and territory or local government planning laws.
• consultation with landholders and occupiers within 500m of a facility.
• buffer zones of 200m around sensitive sites such as schools and hospitals.
• Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) to take into account the precautionary principle when issuing permits.
• extend appeal rights to ACMA about facility installation permits.
• a review of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency EMR emissions standard every 5 years.
Senator Brown flagged the legislation last month.