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5G network technology roll out in Wollongong has residents concerned
Australia Created: 22 Jul 2019
A group of residents in Wollongong are concerned about the potential health risks of electromagnetic radiation from the roll out of fifth generation technology.

The 5G mobile network promises to build on the 3G and 4G networks by providing greater bandwidth, lower latency and energy savings.

It will allow more people to use higher speeds at the same time.

In Sydney, Telstra has rolled out 5G in certain suburbs across Sydney and this has reignited calls from Illawarra residents for health and safety testing on electromagnetic radiation.

Russell Vale's Dave Bourke said studies have shown exposure contributes to a risk of cancers and tumours, insomnia, lowered immunity, DNA damage and more.

"There has been no long-term studies of electromagnetic radiation before the roll out of the 5G network," he said. "Telecommunications companies in other countries do not allow as much radiation as Australia.

"I'm worried more people will suffer problems from electromagnetic radiation and then they won't be able to go to work or school and we will see the collapse of the economy."

Mr Bourke and other residents want experts and the Australian government to consider studies and reports published in other countries.

Wollongong's Nick Manevski said residents would have a constant transmission of electromagnetic radiation in their homes as the roll out of the network requires an upgrade of transition towers and small cell boxes in streets.

"It will be like having microwave saturation 24 hours a day," Mr Manevski said. "There is no escape. People can't opt out."

Wollongong resident Kane Strous said he was originally supportive of the roll out because he wanted high speed internet but after looking into the technology he fears residents are not being given all the information about the health implications.

The group are holding a community meeting on July 27 from 1pm to 3pm at Wollongong Seniors Centre, Gwynneville for residents to find out more information about their campaign to stop 5G coming to the Illawarra.

"We are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of 5G," Corrimal's Mignon Lee-Warden said.

"We want people to come along to share their thoughts and information. As a community we should be able to make informed choices about our health."

The group plan to lobby Wollongong City Council to help them stop the roll out.

Telstra regional general manager Mike Marom said Telstra was continuing to roll out 5G over the next 12 months into at least 35 cities but did not say when it would occur in the Illawarra.

An Optus spokeswoman said there were no immediate sites planned for the Illawarra but "the region is very much part of our 5G plans".
Health regulators say no need for alarm

The Australian Government and major telecommunications operators say there is no need for alarm about the health risks of 5G network technology.

Residents have raised concerns about the potential cancer risks of electromagnetic radiation exposure but national health regulators say otherwise.

A spokesman from the office of the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Art said the radio frequency electromagnetic energy associated with telecommunications facilities, known as EME, has not been found to cause adverse health effects.

"This includes the EME that will be emitted from 5G networks," he said. "This is backed up by decades of research, by reputable Australian and international scientists."

Telstra's EME strategy, governance and risk management principal Mike Wood said Telstra conducted EME testing on the trial 5G network at Southport on the Gold Coast.

"The test results show EME levels are similar to the existing mobile technologies, and well below the EME safety limits," Mr Wood said.

"The World Health Organisation and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency advise that there is no substantiated scientific evidence that radiofrequency technologies that operate within national and international safety standards cause health effects."

The spokesman said telecommunications facilities needed to adhere to a strict regulatory framework.

"ARPNSA sets strict standards for EME, and compliance with these standards is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority," he said. "There are also laws in place that help telecommunications providers deploy their networks."
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Source: Illawarra Mercury, Ashleigh Tullis, 14 Jul 2019

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