Community & Business

28 June, 2023

Survey to gauge support for CCTV

PROPERTY owners in Mareeba’s CBD will be surveyed to determine their appetite to pay around $1300 more each year for the installation and ongoing operation of a CCTV system for the area.

By Robyn Holmes

Survey to gauge support for CCTV - feature photo

PROPERTY owners in Mareeba’s CBD will be surveyed to determine their appetite to pay around $1300 more each year for the installation and ongoing operation of a CCTV system for the area.

Mareeba Shire Council has been made aware of concerns about crime in the business district, amidst calls for a CCTV system to be established to deter criminals and assist police with catching the culprits.

A report to council last week revealed the cost to install and operate a seven-camera system would cost $185,000 to install and $171,000 a year for maintenance and operation of the system.

Councillors acknowledged the project would involve “significant” costs for property owners in the CBD who already pay a special levy every year – Area 1 (Byrnes Street) paying $789 annually and Area 2 paying $515.

To fund the system, those in Area 1 would have to pay $2079, a 163 per cent increase, while those in Area 2 would have to pay $1805, representing an increase of 250 per cent.

Cr Mary Graham moved that council survey property owners who would be affected by the proposal to determine if they would support the move.

While councillors agreed to go ahead with the survey, many commented that policing was a State Government responsibility and councils should not be expected to pay for CCTV systems – a position put forward by Mareeba at last year’s Local Government Association of Queensland conference which was supported by all of the 77 councils in the State.

Cr Lenore Wyatt said a lot of people expressed their desire for a CCTV system on social media but many of the commentators did not have a business in the CBD.

“It’s very easy for people to get onto Facebook and say they want CCTV but the State responsibilities are being pushed down to councils – that is, our ratepayers,” she said.

“The problem here is that you have people who don’t operate in the CBD, they don’t have businesses in the CBD but they are very vocal about having CCTV and the cost will be passed onto the business owner.

“I’m not going to put any bets on it but I don’t think our businesses can afford this. And then if we do it in Mareeba, then we’ll have to do it in Kuranda and so on.

Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Davies said while he was not against having a CCTV system, it was not a magic bullet to stop crime.

“Even though CCTV will deter crime – possibly by 20-30 per cent – it won’t stop it,” he said.

“It deters certain people who don’t want their face on camera, but then they pull their caps down or put a beanie on.

“It’s expensive, I’m not against it, but people have got to realise it won’t stop crime like that.”

Cr Graham said it was not only the cost that had to be considered but also that would-be criminals tended to “move” to other areas once they realised that CCTV was present to capture their images.

Cr Locky Bensted said the cost would hurt small businesses who were already doing it tough, because landlords would pass the costs down to them. 

“So that’s another hit for small businesses – there’s only so much money to go around,” he said.

“We’re once again dealing with an issue that the State Government is responsible for – no matter what they say, they are responsible, they are the ones that make the legislation to put perpetrators away, to support small businesses and all those things.

“We, as a council, have core business responsibilities to deliver and we do that but that money only travels so far.

“Unfortunately the State is really focused on the Olympics – every time we talk to a department, the funding is either halted or not increasing because of the expense of the Olympics in the South-east corner.”

Chief executive officer Peter Franks weighed in on the debate, pointing out that the State appeared only interested in spending money on cameras that would yield them revenue.

“The State Government is quite happy to spend a lot of money buying cameras to catch people doing the wrong thing by either speeding or not wearing seatbelts because they can raise revenue from it but they are not prepared to invest in CCTV cameras to catch real criminals,” he said.

Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin also pointed out that despite the council initiating a program off ering businesses up to $5000 to establish CCTV at their premises or install security lighting, only seven had applied for the funding


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