Public dissatisfaction with NBN proposals grow

The NBN is facing public dissatisfaction around Australia over development applications for towers and facilities for the NBN

A fixed wireless tower in Tasmania for the National Broadband Network (NBN) is in dispute, following the initial approval of the tower by Huon Valley Council.

Resident Jody Watkins is appealing the construction of a fixed wireless tower in the Huon Valley area in Tasmania on the grounds that inadequate notice was given to residents for the development application.

NBN report: NBN clears hurdle in Scottsdale tower dispute

It is local councils' responsibility to erect signage on sites where development applications have been lodged.

The development proposal is currently before the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT), following a directions hearing this week.

The proposed tower at Garden Island Creek would provide NBN fixed wireless coverage to Garden Island Creek and serve as an ‘anchor point’ for other NBN wireless facilities in the wider Hobart area.

In supporting information to the RMPAT, Watkins claimed that during the statutory notification period, no signage was posted on the proposed site alerting residents that a development application had been lodged for the site.

“Given that the development application was not notified as prescribed, Huon Valley Council has no authority to grant a permit in relation to the development application…” Watkins stated in her supporting information.

“I am seeking an order restraining NBN Co from undertaking any works or commencing the use of the site for purposes of the proposed telecommunications tower unless and until it obtains a valid permit for the use or development.”

However, Watkins could find herself without grounds for appeal, with the RMPAT stating in a letter following the directions hearing that “Watkins did not make a representation within the required statutory time frame”.

Five directions have now been issued by the RMPAT to try and resolve the issue. Huon Valley Council is required to submit an evidentiary form which shows its decision making process in approving the tower.

Following the submission from council, Watkins and NBN Co have 48 hours to point out factual disputes, which, if raised, would result in a hearing being held before the RMPAT.

“As indicated at the directions hearing, the Tribunal is not presently satisfied that there is sufficient material to satisfy the Tribunal on a prima facie basis that a breach has occurred,” the RMPAT said in a letter.

More public dissent in NSW

NBN Co has been criticised by residents in Wolumla, on the south coast of NSW, over a proposed satellite ground station to be built in the area.

Bega Valley Shire Council recently approved the sale of a property on Wanatta Lane in Frogs Hollow to NBN Co for $150,000, subject to environmental protections around a central waste facility (CWF) being built on the site.

The <i>ABC</i> reported today that the Wolumla Residents Action Group is “devastated” the land is being sold to NBN Co and the land was intended to house cattle.

Details of the contract and two reports from AECOM for the proposed facility and an environmental assessment of the CWF are currently only viewable by councillors.

A spokesperson from Bega Valley Shire Council told Computerworld Australia the contract has not been finalised and may not happen until 2013.

NBN Co is building 10 satellite ground stations across Australia in contracts worth $180 million.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags nbn coNational Broadband Network (NBN)satellite ground stationWolumlaBega

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