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Cameras Set To Watch Over Airlie Beach CBD

By Mark Beale

The Airlie Beach main street and lagoon are set to become a safer place thanks to more than $725,000 in federal funding.

The move will see 84 high-definition CCTV cameras installed in strategic locations around town, with Whitsunday Police able to keep an eye on things from their station.

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan visited the region on Friday to make the announcement.

“We know that CCTV is very useful infrastructure to deter crime,” he said.

“It can deter people from doing the wrong thing in the first place when they know they are being watched on CCTV, but it also helps police to do their job if someone actually has committed a crime.”

Once installed, 52 cameras will keep watch on Main Street, while 32 cover the lagoon area.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen gave an example of a recent incident in which CCTV could have been vital.

“Last month we had a tourist unfortunately stabbed in the face,” he said.

“We’ve had calls from police and from council over a long time for any level of government to act.”

Mr Keenan said the high number of tourists in Airlie Beach had made it a priority area.

“Obviously tourism is a the primary economic driver for this area,” he said.

“Deploying this CCTV does give people a sense of safety and of course it does stop them being victims of the sorts of behaviours and anti-social behaviour that we don’t want to see.”

The funding comes under the Safer Streets Programme.

LOCAL REACTION TO NEW EYES IN THE SKY

Inspector Steve O’Connell: There is a lot of area to cover, so I think 84 cameras are very much welcome.
That gives us the ability to cover most of the Safe Night Precinct, if not all.
We welcome anything that is an extra tool in our armoury against violence and to keep this place safe.

Cr Jan Clifford: At night we’ve got security patrols that walk around the lagoon, but it’s always worried me – what if somebody had a fit or fell over, or hurt themselves…and fell into the lagoon?
So it has a safety benefit for people as well because this will be monitored by the police after dark.

Safe Night Airlie Beach secretary Jasmin Lear: This is great news for Airlie Beach and will hopefully act as a deterrent for bad behaviour on our street.
It will also help police prosecute people who offend, as well as helping to identify people acting up.

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