'In fire season the issue [of lack of communication] is always at the top of your mind, especially now that CFA have ramped up online communication like Twitter feeds'.
A GOLDEN Plains resident has hit back at Moorabool Council's rejection of a national broadband network tower in Yendon, saying communication in outer regions could be hampered and employment, education and safety adversely affected.
Plans for the controversial 40-metre monopole high-speed internet tower proposed by NBN Co were rejected by the council on June 6 after six months of debate.
The company and objectors had reached a compromise that the tower be moved 240metres west from the closest house.
Residents had opposed the tower, citing possible radiation risks and poor aesthetics.
But at the eleventh hour the landowner hosting the tower declined to have the monopole's original position moved, resulting in the application being rejected by the council.
Dereel resident Scott Weston said he was surprised at a string of tower rejections in the area. Golden Plains Council recently rejected another monopole to deliver wireless services south of Ballarat, on the grounds it presented an unacceptable visual and amenity impact.
Mr Weston said a tower in Dereel had been approved by the council but "at least one objector" had taken the issue to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
He said for many in the community, NBN towers were "a godsend".
"It adds so much to our communication options. Basically out here we have landlines and that's it. In fire season the issue [of a lack of communication] is always at the top of your mind, especially now that CFA have ramped up online communication like Twitter feeds.
"All we have is dial-up [internet] and when we do that we lose the phone line. It's not ideal. Right now, you can just listen to the radio for updates and as we sadly found out at Kinglake, radio is often delayed."
Mr Weston said the wireless service would be a bonus for schools and the self-employed, who could utilise real-time video like Skype for training or business calls.
While he understood objectors' concerns, he thought it important for NBN to consult extensively when determining the location of towers.
Yendon resident David Paton said the tower's close proximity to houses was worrying.
"[The council rejection] was a surprise; we thought it was going to go through. We were very pleased, though; it's a win for residents."
NBN Co's Community Relations Adviser, Tony Gibbs, said he was disappointed with the decision.