Community & Business

23 August, 2023

No CCTV for Mareeba CBD

A CCTV system for Mareeba’s CBD will not go ahead after property owners, who would have had to pay the upfront and ongoing operational costs of the camera network, rejected the idea.

By Robyn Holmes

No CCTV for Mareeba CBD - feature photo

Mareeba Shire Council sent letters with all the relevant costs and information to 133 properties and hand delivered the letter to 232 businesses after council was pressured by the community to install a CCTV system that would have assisted police to catch the culprits responsible for break-ins, assaults and anti-social behaviour in the business district.

The cost to install a seven-camera system was estimated at $185,000 and to maintain and operate the network would cost $171,000 a year. That cost would have been passed onto property owners in the CBD, with those in Area 1 up for an additional $2079 a year and those in Area 2 having to pay an extra $1805 a year.

Only 46 responses were received by council, with 80 per cent of them against the proposal.

At last week’s meeting, councillors accepted that the survey had clearly shown there was insufficient support for the installation of a centralised CCTV network, but stressed they would continue to lobby the State Government to fund the project.

At last year’s Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) conference, Mareeba Shire got the support of 76 other councils in the State to ask the government to fund the Queensland Police Service to set up and operate CCTV systems in communities State-wide. But nothing has occurred to change the status quo since the conference.

Discussing the issue at the council meeting last week, Cr Mario Mlikota said the people had spoken.

“There were significant numbers surveyed and we did provide an opportunity for property owners and businesses to have their say – they have responded and we’re guided by that feedback,” he said.

Cr Locky Bensted said while property owners and businesses had made their choice, he wanted to assure the community that council would not give up the fight.

“A lot of people saw this as an answer to youth crime and what was happening in the main street it’s important for the rest of the community to know that we won’t stop advocating or fighting,” he said.

“It goes back to that motion we raised at the conference last year – I still think we’ve got some solutions and it would be really nice if the State was to take an interest and at least engage in a conversation with us.

“There’s nothing stopping the state from funding a CCTV in our main street – it’s just the business community decided that they can’t afford to put this in. It’s a space in which we will keep fighting  and it’s not over yet.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Davies reiterated his stance on the issue, reminding the council that CCTV would never stop criminal behaviour. 

“I’ve said it before, people think CCTV is going to stop crime – all it would do was to possibly help catch criminals, it won’t stop it,” he said.

He believed that with a State election coming up next year, the government may take advantage of that poll to come to the party.

“You’ll find a lot of stuff will come board next year,” he said.

 Cr Mary Graham, who runs a business in the CBD, said she accepted the feedback from the CCTV survey and “all we can do now is to offer the Community Safety Enhancement Program and hopefully businesses will take it up”.

The program allows eligible businesses or building owners to apply for cash assistance from the council to purchase and install a new security system or lighting, or to enhance an existing system.


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