Shoalhaven Council to spend $300k on new Nowra CCTV system

UPGRADE: The Nowra CBD will get a new CCTV security system worth $300,000.
UPGRADE: The Nowra CBD will get a new CCTV security system worth $300,000.

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THE Nowra CBD will get a new CCTV security camera system.

Shoalhaven City Council has secured funding for a major system upgrade, voting $300,000 towards the project.

Director Corporate and Community and current acting general manager Craig Milburn said the upgrade would include new cameras, software and hardware and optic fibre links.

“Planning is already underway for the work to take place,” Mr Milburn said.

“There has not been a major upgrade of the system since it was installed.

“Technology has obviously improved in that time.”

Mr Milburn admitted there had been “technical issues” with the current system.

The South Coast Register understands it included a series of incidents in the Nowra CBD last month which were not recorded due to a faulty hard drive.

The alleged bashing of an elderly man in Junction Street was one of the incidents.

Local police were unable to obtain footage of the alleged incident because the “hard drive was down”.

“The system is still operating,” Mr Milburn said “but we did have an issue with a hard drive.

“Occasionally we have had some technical issues.

“We did go to tenders for the new system but we did not have a successful bidder. They were outside our budget.”

He said council was now working with a company to develop a plan.

“Council has been talking with CBD shop owners about the possibility of being able to get optic fibre through the arcade from Egans Lane right through to Junction Street,” he said.

“We are working through these things before we do the installation. Establishing a basic plan and working out a route.”

Council installed 18 CCTV cameras in the Nowra CBD in 2010 with $150,000 in federal funding.

The cameras record images which are retained on a computer hard drive at council and made available to Nowra Police on request, although the images are streamed live into the local station.

The cameras have had an often chequered history, with complaints about the poor quality, while in 2013 council was ordered to turn them off after the Administrative Decisions Tribunal found in favour of anti CCTV campaigner Adam Bonner.

Mr Bonner staged a one-man campaign against the installation and use of the cameras and the collection of people’s individual personal information, including his image.

The tribunal found council in contravention of an information protection principle or a privacy code of practice, stating council had not demonstrated filming people in the Nowra CBD was reasonably necessary to prevent crime.

It led to a private member’s bill by Kiama MP Gareth Ward and support from the then premier Barry O’Farrell to change the legislation.