Local government & network facilities | ACMA

Local government & network facilities

Telecommunications facilities not specified in the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act) or the Telecommunications (Low-impact facilities) Determination 1997 are subject to state or territory law. Typically, planning approval must be obtained for the installation of such facilities from the relevant local government authority.

Carrier consultation with councils

Under the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) industry Code, Deployment of Mobile Phone Network Infrastructure, a carrier must notify councils if they propose to carry out work on a facility.

Carriers must develop a consultation plan that addresses community interests and submit these to council. They are also required to publish a newspaper notice in the affected surrounding area of the proposed works.

The industry Code principally addresses public health and safety. Precautions are taken to minimise exposure to radio emissions by virtue of its possible association with health problems in order to protect people, even through radio emissions at low levels have not been proven to cause such problems.

Carrier obligations under the Ministerial Code of Practice

Under Schedule 3 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act), carriers can inspect land, maintain facilities and install specified facilities. Carriers are immune from state and territory planning and environmental laws when carrying out activities authorised under Schedule 3 to the Act. However, when carrying out activities authorised under Schedule 3 to the Act, carriers must comply with the Ministerial Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997 (Ministerial Code of Practice).

Under the Ministerial Code of Practice carriers are obligated to comply with the provisions listed below prior to installing a facility.

  1. make reasonable efforts to enter into an agreement with public utilities about the installation; comply with industry standards and listed international agreements

  2. provide notice to road authorities and utilities

  3. act in accordance with good engineering practice; protect the safety of persons and property

  4. ensure design, planning and installation of facilities is in accordance with best practice and complies with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) or industry codes or standards

  5. co-operate with other carriers and public utilities who are undertaking similar activities on the same land to minimise inconvenience and damage

  6. minimise interference with public utilities, roads and paths, traffic and land use

  7. take reasonable steps to co-locate facilities with the existing facilities of other carriers or public utilities or use public easements

  8. co-operate with other carriers and public utilities who are undertaking similar activities on the same land to minimise inconvenience and damage

  9. where relevant, notify the Director of National Parks, the Heritage Chairperson or the Environment Secretary of the proposed activity.

Last updated: 31 July 2017