Telcos are promising to transform the way we use our phones, tablets and other devices through the introduction of the 5G network, but not all consumers are happy about it.
Campaigners have taken to social media websites and online petitions in their thousands to oppose 5G, citing what they say are serious health concerns.
They claim 5G causes cancer, nosebleeds and even autism, all of which have been rejected by scientists.
Now the campaigners are turning to federal MPs and a parliamentary inquiry to try to put a stop to the rollout.
Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts:
“The Government acknowledges there is significant community interest in being satisfied in the safety of 5G technology. The Parliamentary inquiry is an important part of hearing from the community and addressing any concerns.
The Government initiated the inquiry to investigate the capability, capacity and deployment of 5G and understand the application of 5G, including use cases for enterprise and government.
Among the submissions to the Parliamentary inquiry from concerned members of the public, there are substantial and considered submissions on the safety of 5G from the telcos and others based on scientific research and expert opinion.
I want to assure people that there are rigorous safety standards in place with regard to the rollout of 5G, and that keeping Australians safe is a priority of the Morrison Government.
5G will bring significant benefit to local communities and businesses by providing faster speeds, lower latency and greater capacity than 3G and 4G services. It is also expected to drive positive economic outcomes for the country.
According to Australia’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), decades of research by reputable Australian and international scientists indicates that low levels of EME from telecommunications facilities – such as those in 5G – do not cause adverse health effects.
The Government has a long-standing EME Program which provides information to the community about EME and health. I encourage anyone concerned to seek information about EME and health from credible sources, such as ARPANSA. ARPANSA can be contacted on 1800 022 333 or at arpansa.gov.au.
We understand that some people have concerns about the safety of 5G. We hope that it provides some level of comfort that ARPANSA, the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety, has recently told the Parliamentary Inquiry that “5G is safe”.
The industry relies on respected, independent scientific organisations, like the World Health Organisation and our own regulators, the ACMA and ARPANSA, for establishing rules regarding the safety of mobile transmissions.
Optus also complies with strict regulations set by the Government regulator, the ACMA, which align with international standards.
ARPANSA establishes the general public radiation exposure levels, so that radio waves used are safe for people of all ages and medical conditions, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
All of our sites and equipment operate at a fraction of the safe levels set by ARPANSA. The measurements from sites are typically below the measurement of a typical baby monitor.
At Telstra we take our responsibilities regarding the health and safety of our customers and the community very seriously. We also acknowledge that some people are genuinely concerned about the possible health effects from electromagnetic energy (EME) and we are committed to addressing those concerns responsibly.
In accordance with industry codes, we undertake a range of advertising and community notification activities for the initial deployment of 5G on existing base stations. This may include advertising in local newspapers, signs on site, letterbox drops, and even social media posts.
Telstra has conducted extensive EME testing on their 5G network and found the EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi and well below the EME safety limits.
5G wireless networks are designed to be very efficient and minimise EME. This means that both the network and device power will be low, which means low levels of EME on 5G.
More information is available at https://www.telstra.com.au/consumer-advice/eme/5g-and-eme and https://exchange.telstra.com.au/understanding-5g-and-eme/