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Local councils and network facilities

Local councils play an important role in network facilities.

Your role with telco network facilities

Your role with telco network facilities depends on whether the facility is:

When a facility is low impact

Facilities that are low impact are generally phone and internet network structures that are less conspicuous. They include:

  • small antennae or dishes
  • underground and above ground structures that protect equipment
  • above ground and underground cables
  • public pay phones
  • equipment in buildings
  • equipment on structures that already exist such as buildings, poles or towers

The Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 lists facilities that are low impact.

Telcos must follow the rules in the Telecommunications Act 1997 when they install these facilities.

If a licensed telco follows the rules in the Act, it can enter onto land to:

  • inspect the land
  • install a low-impact facility
  • maintain a facility

We do not decide if a facility is low impact. If you think the facility is not low impact, seek legal advice.

There are rules for what telcos can do when they enter properties to work on facilities that are low impact.

They must also follow any rules you have to limit noise.

When a facility is not low impact

Certain telco facilities are not low impact. They are structures that stand out in their surrounds. They include:

  • some types of overhead lines
  • a tower that is not attached to a building
  • a tower attached to a building and more than 5 metres high
  • where a telco extends a tower further than it has previously been extended
  • where a telco extends 5 metres more of a tower
  • any facility that is in a significant environment area

The telco must get the approval of the relevant local council or state government if a facility is not low-impact.

For facilities installed in areas of environmental significance, the telco must follow the Commonwealth, state or territory laws, such as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Telcos must consult you about mobile phone base stations

Telcos must consult you about their plans to install mobile phone base stations, also known as mobile phone towers.

You can ask a telco to provide:

  • details to help you develop your forward plans
  • their plans to deploy network infrastructure
  • their service level targets
  • details of opportunities to co-locate network facilities
  • details about electromagnetic emissions and if people may be exposed to them

The rules for how telcos must consult you are in the Mobile Phone Base Station Industry Code.

How to find facilities

To find all the mobile communication facilities within a council boundary use these databases.

Radiocommunications facilities

The ACMA'S RRL database 

We license all radiocommunications facilities. The list is being constantly updated. If a telco is installing a new facility, it may not yet be on the list.

Radio Frequency National Site Archive

The Radio Frequency National Site Archive also has a list of all mobile phone base stations. On this website, you can:

  • search for towers
  • find EME reports
  • find details about when a telco has consulted a community
  • contact details for the operator of a facility

Dial Before You Dig

Dial Before You Dig has a list of all underground telco assets such as optical fibre cabling and conduits.

Contact the telco to get a copy of their plans

If you think a telco has installed a facility on your land, contact the telco to obtain a copy of their plans.

Contact the telco to complain about land access issues

If a telco wants to enter onto your land, you can object to the telco about any of the following reasons:

  • using your land
  • the location of the facility on your land
  • the date when the carrier proposes to start, engage in it or stop
  • the likely effect on your land
  • the telco's proposal to minimise detriment and inconvenience and to do as little damage as possible.

When to go to the TIO

If the objection is not resolved by agreement or you are not satisfied with the telco's response, you can ask the telco to refer the objection to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman [TIO].

This must be done within 5 business days after you receive the telco's response. 

Take your complaint further

We manage some complaints about the installation of network facilities.

If you want to complain, we will only investigate whether a telco followed the rules. 

When you complain to us, you must tell us the part of the Act that you believe they breached. 

You can contact us on 1300 850 115 or email: info@acma.gov.au.

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