The debate around 5G has increased over the past few months with some of our residents concerned about the potential health effects of radiofrequency radiation (RF) and electromagnetic energy (EME) associated with mobile phones/devices and 5G towers. There have been reports in the media recently that Byron Bay Council is planning to place a ban on 5G towers across their region, however at this time we have had no responses to our queries to them on this, including a phone call to the MP some 3 weeks ago.

As telecommunications lies within Federal rather than State Government jurisdiction, we have sourced the information below, however encourage you to contact our Federal Member with any concerns.

The Federal Government has run an EME Program since 1997 to: provide information to the public; enable Australia to engage with international experts; and fund research into health issues associated with mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and other communications devices and equipment. In recognition of renewed concerns about EME from new and emerging communications technology, the Commonwealth Government announced in December 2019 that it was enhancing the EME Program to include the following:

  • An Australian research program managed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to conduct targeted research into EME issues of relevance to Australia including measurement studies assessing EME levels in the community.
  • ARPANSA involvement in international forums (such as the World Health Organization), as well as the setting and maintenance of EME standards and provision of expert scientific advice on EME and health to stakeholders.
  • A targeted public communications program, overseen by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, to provide accessible information to the general public. This will be based on, advice from the Department of Health and ARPANSA and take account of the latest relevant research.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) is responsible for establishing safety standards which set limits for exposure to both RF and EME. ARPNSA has deemed that the operating frequencies of the 5G network are within the safety standards limits.

The latest scientific information on the effect of emanations can be found at the World Health Organisation, International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. The 2020 RF EMF Guidelines was published by the ICNIRP in March this year and can be found here or the FAQ page can be accessed here.

In summary, from the entities responsible for monitoring and assessing the impacts of telecommunications, the 5G frequencies are within safety standards limits. Hence any concerns should focus on those standards, and directed to your Federal Member at: Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien on or phone 07 4121 2936 or Ted O’Brien, Member for Fairfax, on or phone 5479 2800. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, please contact the Telecommunications Ombudsman online here:

While as a State MP Sandy has no direct jurisdiction regarding telecommunications, including the 5G rollout, she will continue to raise matters of concern to residents such as these with Federal Members. We will provide another update as received.