Moreland council votes for CCTV

Moreland councillor Sue Bolton speaks at a recent Sydney conference. She and two Greens councillors voted against a CCTV rollout

Moreland City Council has voted to accept an offer from the Victorian government to fund the installation of CCTV cameras on Sydney Road in Brunswick.

The offer was made following the rape and murder of Brunswick resident Jill Meagher in a side street near Sydney Road last year.

Three councillors voted against the decision: Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton, and Greens councillors Samantha Ratnam and Lenka Thomson.

Labor councillor Lambros Tapinos put the motion. He said many residents have told him they want CCTV. He said it would assist in the arrest of perpetrators of crimes, and would help police in patrolling Sydney Road and dispersing crowds outside late night venues.

Mayor Oscar Yildiz, also from Labor, congratulated the Liberal state government for offering the money.

Speaking against the motion, Ratnam cited a council-run survey of Moreland residents in which 60% of respondents said they do not want CCTV. She referred to research showing that CCTV does not prevent crimes. She said CCTV is expensive to run and would take money away from other measures to reduce violence such as improving street lighting.

She said domestic violence services and public housing, which are crucial in reducing violence in the home, are under-funded.

Bolton said the state government’s offer of money for CCTV is part of its “law and order” agenda. The government is not offering money for other more effective measures against violence, such as better street lighting, late night buses, family violence services, and education to combat violence against women.

She said the government is offering money only for installation of the cameras, and not for the unknown ongoing cost of running CCTV.

Bolton noted that the organisers of the huge Reclaim the Night march along Sydney Road following Meagher’s death were opposed to CCTV cameras.