The destructive forces of 5G are closing in on Byron Shire, despite newly released market research that shows half of all residents interviewed (48%) agree 5G should be a last resort because there are other viable alternatives.
Safe Tech activist and Northern Rivers for Safe Technology (NRST) spokeswoman, Rinat Strahlhofer, said she was deeply disappointed that Byron Bay was slowly losing its status as a 5G-free stronghold, but the community was prepared to do everything in its power to protect the Mullumbimby tower.
“The eyes of the world are watching us as one of the most empowered safe technology communities in Australia. Mullumbimby has been host to the longest international tower vigil, with residents keeping watch now for one year, three months and counting,” she said.
Rinat said the Group had recently commissioned market research to assess Byron Shire’s sentiment around 5G. The methodology involved door-to-door surveying among hundreds of respondents, which is the industry ‘gold standard’ for a representative sample needed for an area of Byron’s size.
The key findings from the survey, conducted via marketing agency Leapfrog Research and sent to TOTT News, includes the following:
• 48% of all residents agree 5G should be a last resort because there are other viable alternatives.
• 53% of all respondents report feeling a little or strongly concerned, with 45% feeling alarmed about 5G.
• 40% of respondents have safety concerns about 5G, with only 24% feeling safety testing is adequate.
• One in five report not knowing anything about 5G and an additional three in five only knowing a little about it.
• Residents are also concerned about drawbacks for property prices, the environment and their health.
• There is low interest in upgrading to 5G technology, with one in four respondents likely to upgrade to a 5G enabled phone in the next 12 months.
Sample is representative of the local government area by age and gender, and covered a broad cross section of residents within the Shire by location and household income.
The methodology involved a quantitative survey using a door-to-door methodology among 310 respondents: People who live in Byron Shire, aged 18 years old or older.
A NEW WAY URGED
Rinat said the research demonstrated that residents still didn’t know enough about 5G and its potential impacts for Telstra to proceed.
She again urged Byron Shire Council to lobby the federal government to finish installing fibre optics — as the most reliable and safe way forward.
The Council has previously described fibre optics as the “more equitable and least intrusive technology for internet provision” for the community.
Telstra has recently activated the McLeods Shoot and Byron Industrial (Acacia Street) towers to 5G, with the towers in Mullumbimby and Byron’s Fletcher Street next in line.
NRST last week formally invited Telstra to participate in a community forum to respond to residents’ concerns, but Telstra has declined the offer.
“Why is Telstra continuing to roll out this technology across the Shire without a significant level of understanding or support from the community?,” Rinat said.
“We demand the industry adheres to the precautionary principle in regards to 5G. Under this principle, the burden of proof for potentially harmful actions requires assurance of safety. Two years on, this proof has still not been provided.
Our movement started out of concerns relating to 5G. Today, it’s become far bigger than that. It’s become about ordinary people standing up for what we believe is right, despite the odds, against powerful forces who clearly prioritise profits over people.”
In 2019, the Northern Rivers for Safe Technology group was formed in Byron Bay, NSW in direct response to concerns about 5G mobile phone technology.
The group conducts advocacy and awareness efforts for greater technology safety standards, and recently launched a website and creative campaign aimed at encouraging people to boycott 5G mobile phones.
They recently formed a blockade against planned Telstra installations in July, and say they will continue to fight for the voices of concerned residents.
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