The Australian Government recognises that some members of the public are concerned about the potential health effects of electromagnetic energy (EME) associated with telecommunications facilities and devices. The Government has run an EME Program since 1997 to: provide information to the public, enable Australia to engage with international experts, and fund research into health issues associated with mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and other communications devices and equipment.
In recognition of renewed concerns about EME from new and emerging communications technology, the Commonwealth Government announced in December 2019 that it was enhancing the EME Program, comprising three components:
- An Australian research program managed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) to conduct targeted research into EME issues of relevance to Australia including measurement studies assessing EME levels in the community.
- ARPANSA involvement in international forums (such as the World Health Organization), as well as the setting and maintenance of EME standards and provision of expert scientific advice on EME and health to stakeholders.
- A targeted public communications program, overseen by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, to provide accessible information to the general public. This will be based on, advice from the Department of Health and ARPANSA and take account of the latest relevant research.
ARPANSA's activities under the enhanced EME Program are outlined in the ARPANSA EME Program Action Plan 2020-2024.