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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11868

Ms JANN McFARLANE (9:46 AM) —I want to bring to the attention of the House the developments regarding the problems experienced by people and groups in the Stirling electorate because of radio frequency interference caused by the Hamersley communications towers. The problem is that the Hamersley towers cause disruption to people's telephone, radio, television and Internet, with varying degrees of personal discomfort and disruption to business activities. On some rare occasions people have told me that their motor vehicles engines have cut out while they were driving through Hamersley.

I have been working on this problem for a significant period of time. The last six months have been especially geared towards rectifying this problem for the residents of the area, but unfortunately the problem still remains. The ABC blames encroachment of residential areas on the problem. This argument is nothing but a furphy. These suburbs have been developed for the past 30 years. I must admit I was amazed when the ABC made the following statement in relation to people buying new electronic equipment:

Perhaps the only useful course of action is for prospective new residents in the area to be adequately informed before they make a purchase decision.

This shows contempt towards local residents. It also shows, for a telecommunication organisation, great ignorance of how radio interference is caused by these large towers.

With the local residents, I have taken a number of steps to establish the extent and depth of the problem and to formulate a plan to bring the issue and solutions to government. The next step for this issue is the first meeting of a community reference group. The primary aim of this group is to make a formal approach to the Australian Communications Authority with regard to the problems and to the solutions. The reference group meeting is to be held at the East Hamersley Primary School library in Doon Way on Tuesday, 25 February 2003 at 7.00 p.m. I will be attending and I will be inviting the local people and groups to come along and share their experiences and suggest solutions. We will then prepare a report to send to government so that together we can work on the solutions that will restore to people and groups a full enjoyment of their telephone, radio, television and Internet.

In this modern age of technology it is unacceptable that residents do not have access to a phone which does not play ABC radio. It is unacceptable that they cannot get proper TV reception. It is unacceptable that those home based businesses in my electorate have problems with their Internet because of the interference from the towers. The minister for communications is obviously an expert on TV reception. I am sure his $10,000 plasma television loaned by Telstra has a perfectly good picture, a picture that the residents of Hamersley, Balga and Balcatta only dream of.

I bring this to the House and I look to the government hearing these concerns and doing something to make the life of the residents of Stirling electorate much better.