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Rules on new mobile phone base stations

There are rules telcos must follow to install mobile phone base stations.

Base station approvals

The decision on who approves a base station depends on several planning factors, including:

  • the type of base station
  • if it is a low-impact facility or not
  • the classification/zoning of the land.

To find out if a base station requires approval under local government, state or territory planning law, please contact your local council.

A limited range of facilities may also be subject to Commonwealth approval processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

If a base station is:

  • a low-impact facility – no approvals are required
  • not a low-impact facility – approvals may be required depending on the applicable local government, state or territory planning law.

Low-impact facilities are determined in the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018.


How telcos must consult with people

If a local council or planning authority is required to assess a telco's plans for a mobile phone base station, they will also ask for people's feedback. You can submit your comments to the council or the relevant authority.

If a base station is low-impact or no approval is required under the local government, state or territory planning process, telcos consult with you by following the applicable consultation process in the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code.

Electromagnetic energy of base stations

All mobile phone base stations must stay within the safe limits of electromagnetic energy (EME).

Telcos can only install a mobile phone base station if they can show it will stay in the safe limits.

Temporary base stations

A telco can install a temporary base station to either:

  • provide additional capacity during one or more events (such as a cultural, festival or sporting event)
  • provide additional capacity during a high-demand holiday period
  • minimise service disruption during the maintenance or replacement of an existing facility.

The telco must notify people about the temporary base station if both of the following apply:

  • it is in operation for more than one month
  • someone lives within the immediate vicinity of its proposed location.

A telco does not have to notify people about a temporary base station if it is used, or intended to be used, to provide emergency services to an emergency service organisation.

Information on base stations

Search the Radio Frequency National Site Archive to find:

  • base stations near you
  • electromagnetic energy reports
  • community consultation information
  • contact details for the operator.

You can also use the ACMA’s list of radio communications licences. The list is constantly updated. If a telco is installing a new base station, it may not yet be on this list. 

Get email updates on changes made to base stations in your area

The Radio Frequency National Site Archive allows you to get email updates when a telco adds new information for a base station site.

To subscribe to this service, go to the Radio Frequency National Site Archive subscription page and enter your details.

You can also navigate to any site you have an interest in and click the blue subscribe button.

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