Telcos may be held to higher structural safety standards

Reforms to the powers and immunities framework are being considered that could require telecommunications installations to conform to higher safety standards.

Under the reform proposals published this week by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the framework could incorporate a “primary safety condition” reaffirming that the “safety of telco installations is paramount”.

The condition will also require telcos to focus on “maintaining the structural integrity of infrastructure or assets on which equipment may be installed”.

The powers and immunities framework delineates the powers available to telecommunications companies to enter land and install and maintain some types of telecommunications facilities, and sets out some immunities from some state and territory legislation when doing so.

The reform proposals are intended to “strike the right balance between the community’s need to access reliable, affordable telecommunications services and ensuring that property owners, local governments and communities have a say in the deployment of infrastructure that affects them”.

The department has published a paper outlining each reform area, key issues for consideration, and possible implementation approaches to enable consultation.

Submissions are being accepted up until 16 October.