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Violence over construction of mobile phone towers in Adelaide while Minister twiddles his thumbs

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Senator Lyn Allison Australian Democrats

Democrat Spokesperson on Telecommunications & Local Government

4th December, 1996 MEDIA RELEASE 96/843

Violence over construction of mobile phone towers in Adelaide while Minister twiddles his thumbs

The Democrats have said the Government's failure to subject telecommunications carriers to normal state and local laws has contributed to a violent confrontation in Adelaide this afternoon.

The dispute took place in the Adelaide suburb of Fulham Gardens as about 60 residents attempted to stop the construction of a mobile telephone tower to be used by all three telecommunications carriers.

A distressed elderly woman sustained a back injury as she was forcibly removed from the site.

Senator Lyn Allison, Democrat Spokesperson on Telecommunications says the confrontation showed the level of anxiety about the telecommunications carriers' ability to build mobile phone towers where they like—in the middle of communities, atop schools, next to hospitals—wherever.

"Violence generally occurs when frustration sets in. This is precisely what has happened here. People are at their wit's end attempting to cope with the carriers' ability to ride roughshod over local communities.

"Yet this government has just extended the carrier’s immunity for three to six months! *

"The Minister has admitted that the absence of controls on carriers are "clearly inadequate in terms of accountability to local authorities and affected residents" but now the Minister wants to extend the immunity until after the roll-out has all but finished. It is absolutely disgraceful," Senator Allison concluded.

For further information, contact Matthew Townsend on (06) 277 3871 or Senator Allison direct on mobile (019) 178 833 or pager (03) 9483 7892.

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