The NSW Government has made news recently with what has been labelled the “CCTV Battle” as federal politicians pledge their support to maintain CCTV facilities. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) ruled that CCTV cameras may breach privacy after a local complaint.
A review of the tribunal’s findings has been called after the Shoalhaven Council on the south coast of NSW switched off its cameras in response to the ruling. This has occurred just weeks after the NSW Government announced a 59% reduction in staff, and the removal of CCTV cameras from a variety of NSW train stations.
So what are the impacts of cutting RailCorp CCTV’s and staff? According to Professor Graham Currie, passenger safety lies with an efficient amount of station staff coupled with CCTV cameras.
“Sydney already enjoys a high level of staffing which is the first passenger preference for improved security. One adverse consequence might be higher costs if effective CCTV camera coverage cannot make unstaffed stations work. It is highly appropriate for RailCorp to adjust staffing levels to be more efficient however this needs to carefully balance passenger needs and resource effectiveness”
This has been a developing issue in NSW as the government has expressed the need to cut back on high levels of staff that are manning stations. According to Professor Currie, Sydney has one of the most expensive railways in Australia.
“An IPART review in 2008 found that station costs in Sydney were 75% higher than Melbourne and double those in Brisbane. A major reason for this is station staff; Sydney had 7.5 staff per station while in Melbourne it was 2.9 and Brisbane 2.4”.
“Sydney has Australia’s most expensive railway. There is nothing wrong with high staffing if it acts to improve passenger safety and service.”
So far this raises many questions; firstly, do you think CCTV cameras breach our privacy? And secondly, would you feel safe in a train station with switched off or removed CCTV cameras? We’d love to hear your thoughts.