Mobile Phone Towers

I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a great example of how the Bonner local community came together, with bipartisan help from all levels of government, to achieve a balanced outcome for all stakeholders.

In late 2011, Optus proposed a new mobile phone tower right next to Guardian Angels Primary School in Wynnum. After some concerned parents looked into the tower’s location, they came to the view that, to be on the safe side, an action group should be formed. The action group was called No Tower Near Guardian Angels.

Community engagement on the project revealed that the local community overwhelmingly opposed the tower. This was evidenced by over 3,500 local signatures on a petition to have a more appropriate location found.

From my personal dealings with Optus, I know that they work hard to find the balance between community concerns and demand for increased mobile coverage-never an easy balance to achieve. Thankfully, in this case, the balance was achieved.

I thank Optus, on behalf of those in the local bayside community who had their say on this issue, for listening to them and, most importantly, for really hearing them. I particularly thank Rowena Gilbertson, Manager of Government Affairs at Optus, for her sensitivity and professionalism in dealing with this matter.

I also acknowledge Natalie Von Hoff, Nathan McNamara, Michelle Evans, Kristy Gilchrist, Raff Foniatti, Kylie Vigen, Sam Johnson, Kellie Sommerville, Paul Caton and Stephen Sherrard-just to name some of the many local heroes who worked hard behind the scenes to achieve this stellar result for the community.

I found the group to be very fair and professional. Special mention should also be made of the new state member for Lytton, Neil Symes MP, and Councillor Peter Cummings for their care and attention to this matter. This result could not have been achieved if the three levels of government had not worked together.

I also acknowledge my friend and colleague the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull for his interest in this issue and for his advice and work behind the scenes, as well as Deidre Thomson.

I, along with my state and local colleagues, will continue to work constructively with Optus as they investigate other locations to install the proposed communication infrastructure.
We acknowledge that we must continue to ensure that balance is found between community interests and Optus’s need to deliver better services to the local community and to businesses.

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