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We read with great interest your article [in the AFR] regarding telcos forcing their way onto private property for the benefit of their networks. We [at SiteXcell] have handled over 3000 Land Access and Activity Notices (“LAANs”) over the past 8 years or so and believe that the situation is getting worse with not only the Tier 1 carriers but also the “cowboys” deploying wireless broadband networks.
As you mentioned the Act has gaping holes in it and we have been trying for years to get the Minister’s office to refine and update what is in essence the 31 year legislation enacted when there were 3 carriers. Now there are over 300 registered carriers and the only basic improvement for owners was the Low Impact Determination in 1997.
There are a range of strategies we employ to assist the Owners, from REIT’s to private owners, but as you mentioned, there is little we can do except make them comply with Industry Best Practices as set out in the Telco Code of Practice, which of course is still vague.
If a carrier has made up its mind that they are getting on a site, without legal action, there are only limited avenues for an Owner. There was a guideline set out about 15 years ago which defined what design features were to be included, but as soon as it was enacted, and because it was unenforceable, the carriers (who all majors signed up to it) ignored it.
We have sent numerous examples of poor workmanship, threats and other poor behaviour to the previous Minister’s office, but until the Property Council of Australia and other major property groups start putting as much pressure in Canberra as the telcos are doing, I’m afraid we are pushing stuff uphill. We need more articles like yours (and I post regularly in LinkedIn) to possibly get some momentum.
Thanks for helping the public begin to understand how poorly drafted the Act is in its current form.
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