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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 270

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (13:36): There is a battle going on in rural parts of the Hawkesbury in my electorate over a string of NBN wireless towers. We have seen the same problem at Cattai, Maraylya, Yarramundi, Sackville, and now Wilberforce. The 45-metre towers are deemed by NBN Co to be the most appropriate technology for these parts of the Hawkesbury. There is no doubt that people want an NBN service, but this has been one of the worst pieces of community consultation that I have seen since the nineties.

Over the last 12 months or so, the organisation which has been contracted to install the towers basically writes to landowners in the areas they are interested in, offering ever-increasing amounts of money until someone finally says yes. Only at that point do they bother telling neighbours and members of the wider community about their plans. As one of the participants suggested at a round table I held with shadow regional services minister Stephen Jones: why aren't they up-front with the community in the first place? Then it would be a more transparent process, and the chances of people feeling that they were being treated with respect would increase.

I think the worst of it is—the saddest part of it is—that, as part of this shocking process, you are pitting neighbour against neighbour and dividing our communities. That hurts everybody. We are a community that needs to pitch in together when there is flood or there is fire. We need to be building community, not destroying it.