Woombah residents have been running a campaign to have the construction of a wireless internet tower halted.
Woombah residents have been running a campaign to have the construction of a wireless internet tower halted. Trevor Veale

NBN: We’re doing it right

THE COMPANY tasked with rolling out the National Broadband Network in the Clarence Valley has defended its community consultation process.

In the village of Woombah residents have been running a campaign to have the construction of a wireless internet tower halted.

Page MP Janelle Saffin said she thought the towers were going to be approved via the Clarence Valley Council (CVC) using development applications.

"When I first met NBN Co, I understood and the words that I understood from them was 'we will get council approval', which to my way of thinking is development application, even though they have exemptions," Ms Saffin said.

She said that was a better way to go because the community was involved and that a company with exemptions for the work still needed to engage the community.

But NBN Co, the federally owned corporation responsible for building the network, said the company had no exemptions from planning approvals. A spokeswoman for NBN said CVC was given a consultation plan, a fact confirmed by director of planning Des Schroder.

But Mr Schroder also confirmed the towers were approved under state planning law and local councils had no simple way of objecting to their construction.

Ms Saffin's office contacted NBN to see what other options were available if residents in Woombah did not want the wireless tower.

"NBN Co does have a network extension program, which allows communities which are not part of the fibre rollout to apply for the network to be extended to their community (generally with some form of co-contribution)," a spokesman said.

"Given fibre is being installed at nearby Harwood, it may be possible for Woombah to apply for extension, once the fibre is rolled out to Harwood."



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