CCTV an Option to Deter Firebugs

THE NILLUMBIK Shire Council – which governs many of the townships affected by the Black Saturday bushfires – said it will consider installing Closed Circuit Television surveillance cameras around roads, car parks and national parks, should the Royal Commission recommend it will prevent firebugs.
Townships within Nillumbik, and surrounding Murrindinidi council-control, told The Sunday Age they have not previously considered CCTV, given its high set up and maintenance costs, the fact it would require monitoring, and apprehensions it may still only act as a reactive measure after a firebug has lit a fire, rather than a proactive measure, beforehand.
“The Shire of Murrindindi is 3,889 square kilometres in area, of which 50% is state and national parks, forests and reserves,” said Murrundindi Shire Council communications officer Therese Morris, adding this is an area authorities “would deem too large for CCTV coverage.”
However the issue of CCTV as a preventative safety measure, has flagged some interest within the Melbourne City Council, which just announced it will spend $354,000 in 2009/10 to add to the 50-plus cameras it recently fitted to streets in the CBD and Docklands, to try and capture lawbreakers.
Four months after the bushfires which burned through the townships of Marysville and Kinglake, Ms Morris said 134 building applications have been received to rebuild homes in the Murrindindi council fire affected areas.
Nillumbik communications co-ordinator Joanne Hammond said seven expressions of interest applications for temporary accommodation, had been lodged in that council area, which are being reviewed. Ten plans submitted for buildings and sheds have been submitted and approved.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of