Department of Broadband cold on Brown’s bill.
By James Hutchinson on Apr 13,2012
Greens senator Bob Brown has slammed government bodies for failing to independently audit mobile phone towers to determine their electromagnetic emissions on surrounding communities.
At a Senate hearing yesterday, the outgoing party leader repeatedly questioned representatives from government bodies on who held responsibility for ensuring compliance of emission standards from mobile towers.
Brown announced his resignation as Greens leader this morning. He will depart the Senate in June.
Yesterday, he questioned the Department of Broadband, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), which oversees electromagnetic emission standards.
He sought clarification on emission limits that were imposed by ACMA’s licenses for mobile carrier base stations, based on ARPANSA standards.
Of an estimated 18,000 mobile sites, Brown said ARPANSA had only audited 21 for scientific evaluation and testing purposes, while ACMA had independently measured measured emissions at the “less than a dozen” sites that had received complaints from the community.
He criticised how ARPANSA based its official emissions figures on predicted emissions, determined by external consultants on behalf of carriers.
“Way below 0.1 percent of sites is ever measured by anyone who could claim to be independent by the site owners,” Brown said, arguing that the ARPANSA’s mandate to ensure public health and safety.
“We have fisheries inspectors make sure you don’t have snapper or flathead that are shorter than a certain amount caught and brought ashore. Where are the inspectors who make sure that EME [electromagnetic emissions] limits are met?”
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