Amateur Radio Antennas and Masts in NSW
For all New South Wales amateurs waiting to hear what the NSW planning department is doing about amateur radio antennas and masts, I have some news for you. Last week I had a discussion with one of our contacts in NSW Planning & Infrastructure. There’s some good news and some not so good news.
Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH
The good news is: NSW amateurs will get pretty much what was wanted.
That is – antennas and masts up to 10 metres height will be an exempt development within residential zones R1 to R5. There will be no need for a development application to your local council, or a consent certificate, provided the structure meets a few simple parameters – such as complying with Australian Standard AS 1170, footings to comply with Australian Standard AS 3600, the structure positioned at a specified set-back from the nearest boundary depending on its height, and so on.
Because it will be a code within a State-wide Environmental Planning Policy, it cannot be overridden by local councils. We will know more about the detail later, and hope there aren’t too many devils in that detail.
You will have to be patient for it to become law – that’s the not so good news.
I was informed that, in relation to the planning regulations that affect us (and many other stakeholders as well), the legal branch of the department will be submitting the revisions to the parliamentary counsel – the people who actually draft the legislation – by the end of the second quarter this year. That means June. When the parliamentary counsel completes it work, it will be recommended to the NSW Governor, who will make the legislation, which will then be gazetted some time later this year.
However, the legislation will not come into effect for another six weeks after that, to allow time for local councils and other organizations to become familiar with it. Maybe, just maybe, amateurs in NSW will have a Christmas present!
Our contact in the planning department said that they had enjoyed the input from the "amateur communications lobby". However, he did say that it would not be productive for you all to continue writing. Further letters to the department, the NSW Minister for Planning, or your local member - even just "thank you" letters - would only necessitate them taking time out to write replies, rather than concentrating on the important work of completing the legislation.
If you want to write or email your thanks or comments, send them to WIA President Phil Wait VK2ASD. The Institute will, at the appropriate time, convey everyone’s thanks to the planning department and the minister.
I must congratulate and thank everyone – individual amateurs and radio clubs alike – who went to the effort of making a submission during all the phases of the NSW Planning System Review over the past 18 months and also writing to your local members last year. All the effort has paid off.
I expect that, in a few years, amateur antennas and masts will rise up across metropolitan and regional suburbia like the quills on a feral echidna! Or, to paraphrase a famous misquote: "Let a thousand antenna masts bloom"!
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