Federal funding to improve lighting and CCTV at the Byron Bay Taxi rank remains uncertain with the federal attorney general department refusing to commit to the funding.
The Safer Suburbs Program Taxi Security Scheme totalling $60,000, was announced for Byron Shire Council under the previous Labor government but remains in limbo under the new Tony Abbott-led government.
A spokesman for the attorney-general’s department, which is under the direction of Liberal MP George Brandis, said ‘grant spending across the government is currently being assessed due to tightened financial circumstances and the need to ensure financial commitments are consistent with the government’s priorities.
‘This includes the Safer Suburbs Program Taxi Security Scheme. Byron Shire Council will be advised as quickly as possible of the outcomes of this process once the government has concluded its considerations.’
It comes after funding worth $149,000 for the completion of stage two of the criterion track at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex was axed by deputy prime minister and Nationals leader, Warren Truss last week.
Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson says essential infrastructure funding seemed to be ‘drying up’ in recent months.
‘For smaller councils like Byron Shire, grant funding is a significant component of how we deliver projects and programs. It enables us to match our existing budgets and get projects off the ground faster,’ Cr Richardson said.
He says Council is also waiting on the outcome of a $125,000 grant application from the federal Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund for the development of a Byron Bay Town and Foreshore Master Plan.
‘We missed out on the National Crime Prevention grant to assist with improved environmental lighting and education programs to help reduce anti-social behaviour as a result of alcohol-induced violence,’ he said.
‘With all the recognised challenges Byron faces in reclaiming its nightlife and tackling anti-social behaviour, you would hope that the differing levels of government would be supportive.’
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, CCTV has no alcohol crime prevention merit and limited crime detection value – mainly in carparks.
It’s time to rethink the enormous initial outlay and ongoing monitoring and servicing costs associated with the purchase and instalment of CCTV compared with the anticipated benefits.
It’s like pissing in your own wetsuit. Whilst it may give you a warm feeling, will CCTV honestly prevent alcohol related harm, reduce dangerous levels of intoxication from the over-serving of alcohol or, ensure genuine RSA practices?
It’s time for all governments to dispassionately review the independent evidence available on the cost effectiveness of CCTV and consider whether it is better to deal with the problem at its source (or root cause) or provide some solace to the victim’s family and friends that we may have captured images of your drunken child’s killers on some grainy CCTV footage – if we are lucky?
The Byron Community would benefit from the $60,000 going to proven harm prevention measures and gaining reimbursement from the existing problematic licensed premises of the current public costs of their and their intoxicated patrons’ activities.
It’s naïve and untrue to say that CCTV cameras have no worth. They may not deter crime, although that’s certainly untrue in some cases, but they are invaluable in providing evidence against culprits and offenders after arrest. That’s been proven time and again, the Jill Meagher case springs to mind. That killer would never have been prosecuted with certainty without CCTV evidence. Assaults outside pubs and entertainment venues have also been recorded leading to successful arrests. The more we have the better. All streets should have a battery of strategically placed cameras to maintain safety for people and property.
Jon, it is suggested that 70% of footage is inadmissible as evidence. You seem to be missing our point, prevention is better than deterrence and detection. Crime deterrence and detection is primarily a State government responsibility, not something Byron ratepayers should have to pay.
It easy to suggest that the CCTV detection of Messrs Meagher and Kelly’s killers establishes a conclusive case for CCTV. However, the vast amount of alcohol fuelled crime remains undetected whilst the majority of alcohol related harm is not criminal related and involves unintended self injury – further cause to believe our money is better invested in proven alcohol harm prevention strategies at no cost to our community – only the overflow of alcohol to the most impressionable and vulnerable bingers and the fast bucks for the suppliers.