Council CCTV to stay

UPDATE 6.45am: THE State Government will introduce exemptions to ensure local councils can continue to use CCTV cameras to prevent crime, Premier Barry O'Farrell has announced.

Last week the Administrative Decisions Tribunal ordered the CCTV in the Shoalhaven Council area be turned off after it found privacy laws had been breached, sparking confusion about the legality of cameras used elsewhere and prompting Lismore City Council to seek legal advice on its own cameras.

"The NSW Government is drafting a regulation to provide appropriate exemptions under privacy laws to allow local councils to con- tinue using CCTV," Mr O'Farrell said.

"It's expected the regulation will be in place by the end of next week. The NSW Government had no intention of allowing this tribunal decision to undermine police efforts to reduce crime on our streets.

"CCTV is a vital tool in the fight against crime and we are determined to ensure it remains so."

 

TUESDAY MAY 7: LISMORE council is seeking legal advice on its CCTV surveillance cameras following a groundbreaking court case that found the cameras might be in breach of the Privacy Act.

The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruled Shoalhaven City Council had to switch off its cameras after a resident, Adam Bonner, objected to the council recording and storing footage of him.

The case may set a legal precedent that means other councils and private businesses could also be in breach of the Act.

Byron United has been advocating for the introduction of CCTV to Byron and president Paul Waters said the decision seemed to be "a contradiction in terms".

"CCTV is everywhere - in service stations and banks. I find it ridiculous that the tribunal could find someone to be in breach of privacy (for filming someone) walking down the street."

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said he would do what was needed to ensure CCTV cameras could continue to operate.

"CCTV is a vital tool in the fight against crime and I am determined to ensure they remain so," he said.

He has asked the Attorney-General for "urgent advice on the implications" and whether legislative amendments were required to keep CCTV cameras on streets.

Police Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke said police used CCTV to prosecute criminals and also to provide a quick response to prevent trouble breaking out.


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