South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto

December 1, 2023

The true cost of the South Burnett Regional Council’s failed attempt to stop the construction of Telstra’s 5G tower in Redmans Road, Kingaroy, may never be known.

Sources within Council have told southburnett.com.au varying amounts, ranging from $24,000 to “almost $50,000”.

However, a Council spokesperson said on Friday that Council could not confirm a figure as “this information is exempt and is protected by legal privilege”.

Amplitel, a construction arm of Telstra, lodged an appeal to the Planning and Environment Court in April against Council’s decision to knock back an application to build a new mobile base station in the grounds of the South Burnett Pistol Club.

Mayor Brett Otto, who a day earlier had met with protesters opposed to the project, used his casting vote at a Council meeting in February to reject an application for a Material Change of Use for the site.

Council officers had recommended the application be approved.

Cr Jane Erkens and Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones voted against the Mayor’s motion to block the tower construction; while Mayor Otto and Cr Kathy Duff voted for it.

Mayor Otto then used his casting vote to break the deadlock, saying he had “done his research” and called for a moratorium on the rollout of 5G towers “until science and further research is undertaken”.

Other councillors declared conflicts of interest and did not take part in the discussion.

The matter was mentioned six times in court during different stages of the appeal process.

In October, the SBRC issued a statement saying  it had accepted legal advice to resolve the matter, after months of mediation.

The Court ordered Amplitel and the SBRC pay their own costs.

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3 Responses to "Costs Of 5G Appeal ‘Protected’"

  1. Was always going to be a cost to the rate payers of SBRC – you can’t stop progress and these companies have deep pockets.

    In my opinion it was a poor decision made to support the concerns of 60 or 70 people to the detriment of decent communication and internet speed for thousands.

  2. None of this would have got this far if there were councillors willing to do the job they were voted in for. But no, “other councillors declared conflicts of interest and did not take part in the discussion.”

    That’s just not good enough, they weren’t voted in for a part-time position that didn’t interfere with their other businesses.

    And soon we’ll be voting for a new Mayor, food for thought there.

  3. Ridiculous that ratepayers’ money should be wasted because the mayor believes in nonsensical conspiracy theories.

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