14 Nov Landowners BEWARE! Telecommunication carriers have broad powers if they access your land…
This article is licensed by Zed Legal to Distinction Legal
When negotiating a property transaction with a carrier, there are some things that you as a landlord should be aware of.
The Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Act) grants a holder of a carrier licence (i.e. a phone carrier) broad powers to deal with land of third parties. These broad powers are often not understood by landowners. Other times landowners are aware that these rights exist, but are not aware of how extensive they really are. In a practical sense, carriers will usually negotiate on a commercial basis with landowners, but landowners should be aware of the statutory rights which negate the need for the carrier to act commercially in some situations.
The powers and immunities are mostly contained within Schedule 3 of the Act. Broadly speaking they allow a carrier to enter land and exercise the following rights:
- inspect the land to determine whether the land is suitable for the carrier’s purpose;
- install a facility on the land; and
- maintain a facility that is situated on the land.
These rights often mean that compliance with state and territory laws (such as planning) by the carrier may not be required. It also means that the carrier may deal with the land within the scope of these statutory powers irrespective of how the land may be classified under state or territory law. For example, a local council may be restricted in dealing with certain land that is classified as ‘community land’ under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW). A carrier may exercise its statutory powers irrespective, and without regard to, this classification.
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