Communications claim more space

The size of some telecommunications facilities will be allowed to increase, under changes announced by the Federal Government on Thursday.

A period of consultation on 24 proposals for change to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities was held from June last year with stakeholders, including ALGA and other Local Government organisations.

Ten proposed changes will proceed. The Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield, who announced the changes, said further consultation would continue on another 11 of the proposals.

One win was the decision not to allow carriers to install cable and conduit under bridges as a "low impact" change. Local Government was unanimously opposed to this change.

However other changes ALGA and State Associations opposed have been allowed to proceed.

Omnidirectional radiocommunications antennas have been defined as low impact facilities in residential and commercial areas, not just industrial and rural areas; radiocommunications shrouds are defined as ancillary items; the maximum size of solar panels used for facilities will increase from 7.5 to 12.5 metres and the maximum size of open trenches used during construction will be increased from 100 metres to 200 metres.

ALGA argued against two of the first three of these proposals and said shrouds should require Local Government approval, as the addition of a shroud could affect structural integrity. The visual impact of a shroud should also be considered. The peak Local Government body in South Australia LGASA was strongly opposed to increasing the size of open trenches due to lengthy and poor reinstatement.

Feedback from State Associations was that increasing the trenching limit would cause considerable inconvenience and was undesirable in residential areas, particularly high population areas.

The ALGA submission can be viewed here and the Department’s website here