New calls for cameras
INSTALLING CCTV cameras in Byron Bay's CBD could help reduce the hundreds of alcohol-related assaults happening there, Ballina MP and local government minister Don Page has said.
Mr Page said there were 225 alcohol-related assaults at Byron Bay in the 12 months to March 2012, 190 of them on Jonson St, and called on Byron Shire Council to drop its objection to the cameras.
The comments come after NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher told a TV news station he supported Tweed-Byron police officers' calls for the council to allow the cameras.
The report, aired on Channel 10, included footage of fights in Jonson St.
A spokesman for Mr Gallacher said yesterday the minister wanted to "work collaboratively" with the council on the issue.
Tweed Byron Local Area Command Superintendent Stuart Wilkins welcomed Mr Gallacher's support for CCTV in the Byron Bay CBD but he said the ball was now in the council's court.
Mr Page said there was a very strong argument to put CCTV in Byron Bay's CBD, particularly on Jonson St.
"It's very worrying that a place like Byron Bay, which has a laid back, carefree and peaceful ethos, should be nominated as the fourth most dangerous town in NSW," Mr Page said.
"I'm disappointed that Byron Shire Council does not support the installation of CCTV in the CBD of Byron Bay. In areas where CCTV has been installed, such as Lismore and Kingscliff, it has been successful in reducing crime. I'd like Byron Shire Council to reconsider their opposition to CCTV so police can catch the perpetrators of violence and make Byron Bay a safer place."
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said she had spoken to many residents who felt CCTV would be an invasion of their civil liberties. If CCTV was to be installed, businesses that profit from alcohol sales should foot the bill.
Mr Page said there was federal and state funding available to fund CCTV.
Byron United president Paul Waters said Cr Barham was being stubborn over a serious issue.
"CCTV is a sensible solution to a serious problem," he said.