Sunday 14 April
>>Residents protest video phone launch
Thursday 3 April
>>Oatley Park Defenders
Court permits Orange 3G to build a tower on residential roof without owner's permission
27 March 2003
Labor will look at changing Telecommunications Act re sensitive areas
>>Hansard 27/3 P65-7
26 March 2003
Alan Fairley's review of the Orange Environmental Impact Statement >>view
Georges River Environmental Alliance's review of the Orange EIS >>view
Oatley Park Defenders 3 April, 2003
Oatley has become the unlikely frontline in the battle for residents to have a greater say in mobile phone tower planning. Residents have been campaigning since November to stop Hutchison 'Orange' Communications’ aggressive plans to install a third generation (3G) phone tower in Oatley Park.
The site places the children and teachers of Oatley West Public School in the tower’s beam of greatest electromagnetic radiation. EMR is known to cause changes in plant and animal cells and animal behaviour. The long-term effect of EMR exposure is unknown.
3G technology towers must be erected every 1.5 to 3kms and enable video and internet streaming to special mobile phone handsets.
"This is techno gadgetry at its worst and our kids and parks are paying the price" said local resident Michele Adair.
Federal telecommunications laws allow the phone carriers to install low-impact towers without the consent of landowners, development assessments or community consultation.
Oatley's normally conservative parents became angry protesters on March 25 when construction started on the tower. A large police contingent remained in place for several days. Ironically, the day marked the Park’s 116th anniversary as a pristine native bushland reserve.
The protest has exposed systemic problems in the regulation of the mobile phone industry. The Telecommunications Act (1997) defines "low impact" areas as those not protected by a conservation order (e.g. a World Heritage Listing) or sites that have pre-existing buildings or poles to which antennas can be attached.
Once a carrier has developed a site others must also be permitted which results in compounding developments much larger than the original.
The scope of the development power and Hutchison's use of unsuspecting community groups has resulted in controversial installations throughout Sydney and interstate.
In a show of support for residents Hurstville Council will appeal a decision by the Land & Environment Court which allows Hutchison to install the tower. The matter will be heard by the Supreme Court in May.
Anyone adversely affected or concerned about phone towers is invited to a mass protest picnic at Oatley Park, Dame Mary Gilmore Road Oatley, on Sunday April 13.
Michele Adair, Oatley Park Defenders m. 0412-706-123
Louise Radcliff, Oatley West Public School P&C m. 0412-383-493