The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has joined concerned West Hobart residents to highlight the need for residents to have more rights about the placement of phone towers.

The residents are concerned with a proposal by Telstra and Visionstream to install a mobile telecommunications facility in Hill Street, West Hobart, which like many phone towers does not require Council approval.

“One of the constants in my time as a Member of Parliament has been communities battling against inappropriate or poorly-sited mobile phone towers,” Mr Wilkie said.

“The law currently allows these towers to be deemed ‘low-impact’ which basically means that communities are locked out of the consultation process. They can give feedback to the developer but at the end of the day the law allows the telco to do as they please.

“This is a problem because these developments are sometimes poorly-sited and impact significantly on local residents. They’re often put in the cheapest possible place even when other, more sensitive sites are available.

“That’s why in the coming weeks I’ll be reintroducing my Private Member’s Bill that would give communities a greater say in the placing of phone towers. It would give owners and occupiers of affected land more time to respond, restrict the type of developments that can circumvent the Council planning process, and remove the ability of telcos to extend the size and capacity of towers under the guise of routine maintenance.

“I hope that the Labor and Liberal parties will listen to the concerns of the West Hobart community, but also commit to support my Private Member’s Bill so that other affected communities can have a greater say.”

Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart