MOUNT Alexander Shire councillors decided last night to await more information before giving the go-ahead to the roll out of National Broadband Network towers.
The move comes amid fears from the community of exposure to radiation.
Councillors voted last night to defer making a decision about planning permits for a telecommunication tower in Faraday.
Mayor Michael Redden said the council had written to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and NBN representatives for advice.
He said a similar proposal for Guildford was also due to come up for council consideration in the coming weeks, and a decision was unlikely to be made on that either, pending more information.
Local group Citizens Advocating for a Safe Environment presented a petition containing 70 signatures requesting the council refuse the installation of NBN wireless towers within Mount Alexander Shire.
The petition claimed they should be barred “until such time as a written public statement can be provided, guaranteeing the safety of residents (in particular that of children), pets, livestock, wildlife and bees from non-thermal chronic exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation.”
Shire staff said that under the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme, there were no grounds for refusing a planning permit for the towers.
NBN Co has put forward plans for towers at 12 sites within the shire.
More than 30 Guildford residents met with representatives from NBN and Mount Alexander Shire at the start of February to voice fears their health would suffer as a result.
At last month’s council meeting, councillors voted to defer a decision to go ahead with plans for the tower at Reservoir Road, Harcourt.
The decision was deferred pending “further information from NBN”.
At the time councillors opted to ask the NBN Co for a written statement guaranteeing safety for residents.
NBN Co community relations manager Tony Gibbs said the electromagnetic energy the towers used was similar to the radiation from a 4G mobile phone.
“With regards to safety, the proposed facility is designed to transmit a radio signal – the same kind of signal as AM/FM radio and television broadcasts, emergency service communications and paging networks – which we have been living with for generations,” he said.