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Thursday, 25 November 1999
Page: 12747

Mr SWAN —An Optus telecommunications tower proposed for a location at Brighton in the electorate of Lilley has been an issue of concern for many residents of my local community over the past month. Many local residents are concerned to learn there is no federal legislation governing the location of high-impact telecommunications towers in regard to residential areas, particularly schools and hospitals. In fact, in 1997 the federal government amended the Telecommunications Act to ensure that there is no federal regulation of high-impact telecommunication towers. They deliberately took this matter out of the hands of the federal government and placed it in the hands of local councils, who are simply not qualified to deal with the health and safety aspects of high-impact telecommunications towers. The zoning of high-impact towers is now entirely in the hands of local councils.

Local residents are justifiably concerned when local councils approve these towers. But these towers are only judged on local town planning guidelines; they are not judged on the health and safety issues associated with them. It is completely inappropriate for local councils to be taking decisions about a national telecommunications network. Hundreds of local councils are involved in what should be a national regulation of a national problem.

Residents in the area are extremely concerned that this tower has been approved, because they can have no faith that the occupational health and safety standards of these towers have been taken into account in relation to local residents. Surprisingly, the Telecommunications Act is relatively clear when it comes to low-impact towers. There are guidelines in federal legislation set down for low-impact towers but not for high-impact towers. This is simply not good enough. This is an area where the Telecommunications Act federally will need to be amended substantially so that we can have a national approach to a national problem and so that residents in places like Brighton can have some faith that their concerns about the impact of high-impact telecommunications towers are taken into account in a national planning process.

Many residents in Lilley are also extremely concerned about something that is very basic, and that is the rapid increase in the price of milk. The price of milk has risen 12 per cent since the beginning of this year while the national rate of inflation for cream products is only three per cent—the rise in price is 12 per cent in Brisbane alone. Many people have expressed their concerns to me along these lines, including these comments from Taigum:

I am thoroughly disgusted at the increases in milk prices. We have two children to encourage to drink plenty of milk so they grow up healthy and have strong bones and teeth, but the more it costs to buy each week the less I encourage them to drink.

A person from Boondall said:

My husband and I receive a carers pension and are caring for three intellectually disabled people also on pensions in our own home. We have no other source of revenue, savings or super. If these types of price rises continue—

(Time expired)