A better balance between building owners and telcos

The Property Council commends the Turnbull Government for signalling it will address some of the systemic concerns building owners have been raising for years over the behaviour of telecommunications carriers.

Chief Executive Ken Morrison said it was the right decision to consult further on 11 of the 24 proposed reforms of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

“We welcome Minister Fifield’s announcement today that the Government will undertake further work on key issues including ‘processes for notifications and objections to works, dispute resolution arrangements, guidance for property owners on their rights and avenues for redress, and new arrangements for after an installation has been completed’,” Mr Morrison said.

“We have chronicled numerous cases of building owners having to bear unreasonable health and safety risks and costs due to telecommunications carrier activities on their premises.

“It is encouraging to see these long-running concerns now being given the serious consideration they deserve.

“As the communications demands of communities grow – and their footprint on the built environment expands - it is imperative that we strike a better balance between legitimate connectivity infrastructure requirements and the all-important health and safety considerations.

“Telecommunications carriers, with legislative protection, have too often been a law unto themselves, showing little regard for building owners or other tenants, and paying next to no rent.

“We’ve had reports from members of building owners being offered $1 rental for distributed antenna systems and some carriers refusing to pay compensation for space lost. 

“Some licensed carriers are failing to provide sufficient notice before undertaking work or to observe critical safety standards. Inappropriate installation of cables and equipment is also impeding building maintenance.

“It is imperative that these failings in the current, outdated legislative and regulatory arrangements be remedied.

“We stand ready to work constructively with Government and telecommunications carriers to ensure we get meaningful reforms addressing these long-held issues, and encourage other industry participants to engage in good faith.”

Media contact:  Fiona Benson | M 0407 294 620 |  E fbenson@propertycouncil.com.au