Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Editorial - MCF push for state planners to acknowledge community value of mobile networks

MCF Manager Ray McKenzie
 MCF Manager Ray McKenzie

The importance of mobile telecommunications infrastructure to the economy and community has been recognised in a review of local planning laws in Victoria following a submission from the Mobile Carriers Forum (MCF).

With planning reviews currently underway in several states, our submissions have been seeking to have telecommunications equipment recognised as an essential community infrastructure in the outcomes of these state planning reviews.
In a new planning paper “Plan Melbourne” released by the Victorian Minister for Planning, the Victorian government outlined the metropolitan strategy for planning and development in Melbourne to the year 2050.
The MCF made submissions during the Plan’s consultation phase and noted the need for more explicit reference to the value of mobile network infrastructure and to support this by seeking changes to the State Planning Policy and Victorian Telecommunications Code.
The MCF has already separately provided submissions on both of these, suggesting the Code should be updated from the version originally implemented in 1999 to reflect modern technologies and deployment practices.
In the final “Plan Melbourne” released in May, a very significant first step has been made towards the industry’s goal of reviewing the Victorian Code, as the Minister has agreed to include a new section including a short term priority to commence the review.
A new section of “Plan Melbourne” has been included which specifically supports the provision of telecommunications infrastructure, noting:
“There have been significant changes to how we communicate. Fixed-line, mobile, wi-fi and internet communication has been changing rapidly and infrastructure is being enhanced and deployed to address technology advances and increasing demand….
Early planning for telecommunications infrastructure is important in growth areas and urban-renewal precincts to ensure early provision of cost-effective services to residents and businesses….The absence of telecommunications pathways can hinder or delay the provision of services and increase costs.”
A new short-term objective has also been added:
“Review the Code of Practice for Telecommunications Facilities in Victoria 2004 to ensure it meets the needs of service users and providers”
This is a great reward for the MCF’s efforts to have the enormous value of mobile telecommunications infrastructure recognised in state and local planning schemes. To finally have this objective in a State Government Policy document means that the task of progressing the review of Victoria’s Code has become much more straightforward.
There is still much to be done, but we believe it is important to continue these efforts to highlight the importance of mobile network infrastructure in all planning jurisdictions throughout Australia and enable the efficient and timely provision of advanced mobile telecommunications services for the economic and social benefit of Australian communities everywhere.
Ray McKenzie


Published 29/05/2014

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