Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010
Parliamentary Record 15
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 They described to me the height of this proposed tower, and the width of the guidelines which would hold the tower down. I never really took the enormity of the tower they were talking about into perspective but, in my role as an elected representative, I take peoples concerns, try to get the balance of opinion right amongst the constituents, and I raise them. I said I would go back there on the Sunday to the top of the hill behind Gilbert Place, Grant Road and Saltwater Street, a triangular area, and have a look at the proximity of this tower to houses. I went there with one of my friends. We rode our motorbikes through the back of Grant Road, up the hills, past the Power and Water water tower to the site where it is proposed this tower will go. I did not really understand how close the tower was going to be to the houses. I have a couple of photos here which show that the distance from the construction of the Telstra tower to the houses is not very far. It will completely impair the aesthetics of the land for the people living in the houses. The proposal is a 30 m tower, which is fairly large when you look at it. I have some diagrams of how it may look for the local residents - a 30 m tower on the top of the hill, and a water tank to the right. There have been a few concerns raised by residents. I wrote to people in 13 streets in the surrounding area advising them of what was happening; not necessarily condoning it, but informing people of what was going on because I know there are many people who want improved Telstra services, and there is a demand for improved services in a business model, and Telstra is trying to respond to that. I have since tabled a petition in this parliament which was signed after concerned residents doorknocked the area. There has been a hearing of the Development Consent Authority, there have been investigations undertaken by the Department of Lands and Planning, and it has all been approved in that sense and gone forward. There have been some slight variations; it is now a 24 m tower, not a 30 m tower, and the equipment box has been moved slightly down the hill, so it is slightly less intrusive on the aesthetics of the environment. I know there are some people who want to have improved Telstra services, especially with changes to downloads and how we all use our new phones for computer and mobile technology, but I request that the Minister for Lands and Planning, before making a decision on the approval of this site, considers a couple of things. I ask the minister to allow me, as the local member, to look around Larapinta to try to find alternative, low-density sites within Larapinta which will still provide opportunity for Telstra to improve their services, especially for data downloads; they need to provide service to the Larapinta area. We all want people to have greater access. People these days want greater mobility, they use telecommunications differently, and we want that to occur, but the minister, if he was generous, would allow me a couple of weeks to try to identify an alternate site within Larapinta. I know Telstra has undertaken an exhaustive process. I also ask the minister to consider the documents within the DCA communications and within the approval process, and to look at alternative models of mobile tower designs. I know in other states, and probably also in the Northern Territory, many Telstra towers or antenna sites do not look like antenna sites. I know mobile phone antennas which look like crosses have been placed on churches. Mr Bohlin: Palm trees in Queensland. Mr GILES: Schools are now leasing out their land or parts of their infrastructure to have antennas where people cannot see them. It is an income earner for schools. My colleague, the member for Drysdale, has mentioned palm trees in Queensland. On a highway in Victoria they built a sort of pine tree; it does not look 100% like a pine tree, but they have tried to make it look like a pine tree to fit in with the environment. They have designed an antenna like a palm tree so, when you are driving down the road, you do not see it. I think on this site it would be an opportunity for the minister to say to Telstra: We know you are trying to improve services, and we respect and accept that. The member for Braitling is looking at lower sites within Larapinta to try to meet that need in consultation with other constituents. If, in the worst case scenario, the minister does decide it will be placed in the current proposed position, I request that the minister talks to Telstra and asks it to look at other aesthetic models to try to redesign the outside image of the tower. I know there are some companies, such as Ericsson, which are designing different types of towers to try to fit in, and I think it is important the minister considers that; I ask him to consider that. It is important to remember we are talking about the western MacDonnell Ranges, a world heritage site. We cannot have things put on The Gap anymore, those things have been virtually outlawed, but we are still within the region of the 6550
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