Telecommunications Facilities (eg. NBN)

View from Warragamba Lookout

Council has received a number of questions about mobile phone towers and other telecommunications infrastructure (eg NBN).   Click on the Frequently Asked Questions to find out more information.

A telecommunications facility is defined in State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (Infrastructure SEPP) as:

  1. any part of the infrastructure of a telecommunications network, or
  2. any, line, cable, optical fibre, equipment, apparatus, tower, mast, antenna, dish, tunnel, duct, hole, pit, pole, or other structure in conjunction with a telecommunications network.

Telecommunications facilities provide for transmission of voice, data, image, graphic and video information between or among points by wire, cable, optical fibre, microwave, radio, satellite or similar facilities. 

The approval for a telecommunication facility can be processed in one of two ways:

i.   Complying Development

  • A telecommunication facility may be approved by either Council or a nominated accredited certifier as long as it meets the complying development provisions listed in the Infrastructure SEPP.
  • Once the Complying Development Certificate has been issued the notification to neighbours will need to occur 7 days prior to any work commencing

ii.  Development Application

  • If the telecommunication facility does not meet the complying development provisions in the Infrastructure SEPP, a development application may be lodged with Council
  • Council will assess and determine the proposal in accordance with the Infrastructure SEPP, and any other relevant State Policies, the Local Environmental Plan and Council policies.

For both exempt and complying development to the extent that the development involves the installation of fixed radiocommunications infrastructure used, intended to be used or capable of being used to supply Public Mobile Telecommunications Services, the installation of such a facility must comply with the ACIF Code C564:2004. Development of Mobile Phone Network Infrastructure (Mobile Phone Networks code). Refer to the notification sections of the ACIF code, and Appendix F of this Guideline.

 

Notification to Council – Installation At A New Site Without Development Application

The Carrier must allow Council a comment period of 5 business days from the date of notification.  Before commencing the work, the Carrier must have regard to any submissions received from the public and Council

 

Consultation with Local Communities – Installation At A New Site Without Development Application

The ACIF Code refers you to Consultation Guidelines and states the following:

“A Carrier’s consultation plan for each site should be open and transparent.  The size and scope of the consultation plan should be weighted against the likely impact the proposal will have on directly affected parties, relevant stakeholders and community sensitive locations.” 

No timeframes have been outlined in the consultation guideline for the community to be notified or respond.  The guideline has a number of consultation tools that the Carrier can select when communicating with individuals and stakeholder(s).

Consultation Tools

Notify immediate residential neighbours

Advertising in local paper

Community newsletters

Door knock

Posted letters to individual residents/landowners

Consult Ward Councillors

Consult with other relevant Councillors

Consult Tenant stakeholders

Notify community representatives

Consult with community representatives

Notify representatives of sensitive activities

Council presentations

Consult precinct committees

Open House

Consult with Members of Parliament

Forming Community Representative Committee

Public Meeting

Consultation with the owner and approval for the owner of the property is required to create any further works on the property. The council in which the proposal is located is also required to be notified of the works to occur with a copy of the report that is written regarding EME levels and such. 

Installation At A New Site Without Development Application

Council’s role is to review the information provided in relation to the calculated EMR levels and refer to the accepted levels for exposure as released by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Where the levels calculated by the applicant are within the accepted public exposure limit Council will not seek additional information or a redesign of the facility.

 

Installation At A New Site With Development Application

Upon lodgement of a complete development application Council will notify adjoining properties to the subject site and advertise the proposal in the local papers for a period of 30 days. Council will accept and acknowledge any submission made in the correct format during the exhibition period and may forward any submissions made to the applicant for them to formally respond.

Council assesses and determines the application in accordance with the Infrastructure SEPP, and any other relevant State Policies, the Local Environmental Plan and Council policies.

As part of the assessment Council reviews the information provided in relation to the calculated EMR levels and refer to the accepted levels for exposure as released by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Where the levels calculated by the applicant are within the accepted public exposure limit Council will not seek additional information or a redesign of the facility.

Development for the purposes of telecommunications towers (including radio facilities) may be carried out on any land under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007, Part 2 of Schedule 3A is deemed to be complying development.

If the tower is located on land Zone IN1, IN2, IN3, or an equivalent land use zone, the tower must not:

  1. be located within 100 metres of a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone boundary, and
  2. exceed 25 metres in height (including telecommunications facilities) where located between 100 and 150 metres from a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone boundary, and
  3. exceed 30 metres in height (including telecommunications facilities), where located more than 150 metres from a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone.

 If the tower is located on land Zone RU1, RU2, RU3 or RU4 or an equivalent land use zone, the tower must not:

  1. be located within 100 metres of a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone boundary, and
  2. exceed 25 metres in height (including telecommunications facilities) where located between 100 and 150 metres from a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone boundary, and
  3. exceed 50 metres in height (including telecommunications facilities), where located more than 150 metres from a Zone R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 or RU5 or equivalent land use zone. 

Council’s role is to review the information provided in relation to the calculated EMR levels and refer to the accepted levels for exposure as released by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Where the levels calculated by the applicant are within the accepted public exposure limit Council will not seek additional information or a redesign of the facility.

Understanding the ARPANSA Environmental EME Report – more information is available on the ARPANSA website.

The ARPANSA is the Australian Government's primary authority established under Part 3 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998. ARPANSA regulates Commonwealth entities using radiation with the objective of protecting people and the environment from the harmful effect of radiation. ARPANSA undertakes research, provides services, and promotes national uniformity and the implementation of international best practice across all jurisdictions.

Council does not play a role in the site selection or the assessment of site feasibility prior to lodgement of the application. Council cannot request that the applicant seek to relocate the tower to a new site. Council can only assess the application as lodged on the subject site.

The approved subdivision had a condition of approval imposed requiring “..provision to be made for the supply of telephone services to all proposed lots in accordance with the requirements of Telstra…”.   As per condition 10(2) of the DA approval 516/2012 Council received a “Compliance Certificate - Telecommunications Infrastructure Provisioning Confirmation” for the Vanderville Estate.  

In December 2013 the developer of Vanderville Estate had lodged a fibre application with NBN however in line with the, then, Government policy (see link here), this was rejected.  The reason being was that the development was for fewer than 100 premises and the area was not at that stage on the approved NBN roll out schedule. The consequence of NBN not accepting the fibre application (in an non NBN ready area) was that Telstra became the service provider.  

On behalf of new residents in the Vanderville Estate, Council has now raised concern about the timeframe for provision of the service with Telstra. 

Telstra have indicated that:

  • The project to provide service will be sent to our contractors who will prepare a design for Telstra approva
  • The project will include civil works which requires a notification to Council
  • The normal length of time required to complete the work is 8 weeks
  • They will request the contractor to fast track this project.

  1. The Vanderville Estate residents will receive the NBN when the rest of this area is scheduled to be connected.  NBN produces a public 3 year construction schedule which is updated one to two times a year (see link here).  This indicates that construction for the Oaks region was due to commence last quarter however it can take some 12 or so months to complete construction.  The Oaks region will receive a mix of NBN via fibre to the node (FTTN) technology and fixed wireless.
  2. The NBN website has a section devoted to new developments (see link here), which includes links to Government policy (see link here).