Blue Mountains City Council has been contacted by members of the community expressing their concern about 5G wireless technology and possible health risks.
Some community members are concerned at their lack of say in regard to the roll-out of 5G technology in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area.
At its meeting of 29 January 2019, Council considered a Mayoral Minute regarding this matter and passed a motion expressing community concern on the potential impact of 5G technologies on the health of the community and animals.
Also at the 29 October Council Meeting, the Council resolved to:
That Councillors receive a report on the options for initiating a community forum on 5G wireless technology where the CEO of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Dr Carl Magnus-Larsson, or his delegate would be invited to attend and speak along with scientists, medical professionals and community to specifically respond to health and safety concerns regarding 5G technology that have been raised by the members of the local community.
At the 28 January 2020 Council Meeting, Council endorsed the following resolutions:
1. That the Council notes that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) declined to attend a community forum;
2. That the Council notes that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) declined to attend a community forum;
3. That the Council not proceed with a community forum on 5G without the appropriate regulatory agencies; and
4. That the Council writes to the Honourable Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Security and the Arts, expressing concerns that the responsible commonwealth agencies have declined to attend a community forum to address community concerns in person.
What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks following 3rd and 4th generation (3G and 4G) technologies by which Australian mobile networks currently operate.
According to the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), 5G has been designed to meet the large growth in data and connectivity of today’s modern society.
What is Council doing about 5G?
The roll out of 5G technologies is regulated by State and Federal governments.
Council has limited statutory role in the space of regulating the deployment of telecommunication facilities and infrastructures.
However, on 15 February 2019 Council wrote to the Federal Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP, and our local Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman MP, to seek assurance that community concerns with respect to 5G network technologies will be assessed and taken into consideration.
What was the response?
Council has since received responses from Susan Templeman MP, the Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP, and ARPANSA Chief Radiation Health Scientist, Dr Gillian Hirth on behalf of the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie.
The information received can be summarised as follows:
- The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) reaffirmed the industry’s reliance on scientific advice, particularly the World Health Organisation’s general conclusion that “despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.”
- The Australian Government regulates public exposure to electromagnetic emissions from communications equipment, including mobile and 5G deployments, as per the advice of its scientific and technical regulators.
- The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the expert body on health effects from radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME) sets limits for exposure to RF EME. These are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
- ARPANSA’s reviews of scientific research on exposure to RF EME emissions from mobile telecommunications indicated that 5G exposure is expected to be well within the limits set in the ARPANSA RF Standard, which reflects international best practice.
- ARPANSA offers opportunities for members of the public to speak directly with their scientists. See www.arpansa.gov.au/contact-us
- Before building new mobile telecommunication base stations, telecommunication companies must consult with communities (as per the Communications Alliance industry code C564:2011) and produce an environmental EME report.