by Anthony Johnstone, Access Detection

In the last three months, locators throughout Australia who have had to renew their Telstra accreditation have had to complete a new process required by Telstra. The new accreditation process is part of Dial Before You Dig’s Queensland Locator Certification.

Locators no longer have to attend a course and be signed off as competent and receive accreditation to locate Telstra plant. But a word of warning, while the course is no longer required, the process to competency is far more stringent than it used to be, and a locator needs to understand both the theory and practical use of EMF locators to be able to receive this accreditation. I would highly recommend getting up to speed by using one of the selected training organisations like the National Utility Locating Contractors Association’s two-day course – this will give you enough information and locating prowess to better pass the theory and practical. This process is not recommended for beginners in the industry.

So what equipment is now required to become a Telstra locator? The most important piece in your kit will be your pipe and cable EMF locator. This will need to have a minimum of two frequencies (three is preferred), a separate peak and null mode, along with the ability to read current measurement. Extra equipment which is now mandatory includes a transponder locator which locates the 101.4 KHZ telecommunication markers (Telstra requires a single frequency, DBYD recommends multi-frequency), a traceable rod and sonde, along with your standard safety equipment that includes two lid lifters, safety barriers and a gas detector.  

For the amount of times you will probably locate transponders, having a locator with an inbuilt antenna only adds weight to your locator. And if your locator requires servicing or repair, you are down a locator. Having a separate transponder locator gives the operator the flexibility to move it around with crews when needed, and when servicing is required you still have your locator. I would not recommend purchasing signal frequency transponder locators, as some of the fibre optic network from other asset owners use frequencies including a sewer transponder.

Traceable rods and sondes are another inclusion and with the new equipment list I suggest using a traceable rod with a multi core cable with a minimum diameter of 6mm. This is due to the fact that if one of the cores breaks, you can still trace it with the remainder of the cores. 4.5mm rods are normally too small and are harder to push up ducts, especially if there are cables shared with the conduit.

The days of sliding lids of Telstra pits with one lid lifter are gone, and the possibility of damage to cables has been increased since nbn began sharing pits with Telstra. You must have two lid lifters and lift the lid up to ensure no damage occurs.

If you require any further information you can contact Telstra, Dial Before You Dig Queensland, or NULCA, who can assist with answering your questions. You can also visit

If you have any questions on the equipment required, please don’t hesitate to call Anthony Johnstone from Access Detection on 0438 777 281 or email

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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