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'Locals were worried police would watch pub-goers': Community backlash leads Flinders Island to remove CCTV cameras

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Close-up of CCTV cameras installed in a public area. Image / Stock

The small community of Flinders Island has decided to reverse a decision to install CCTV cameras across the island following backlash from locals.

The backflip was made at a recent council meeting, with Mayor Rachel Summers saying the cameras were initially installed earlier than expected, before proper community consultation could take place.


“At the time they were installed, we didn’t know how long the footage was going to be kept [or] who was going to have access to it,” she told ABC Radio.

“All we knew was that it wasn’t going to be monitored and it was really, you know, if an incident happened, we could go back to the footage and access it.”

Flinders Island Mayor Rachel Summers. Image / Supplied

“Some people were worried that the police would be sitting there watching to see who was going in and out of the pub so they could go and nab them and it absolutely wasn’t anything like that.”

The cameras were placed in Whitemark, Hays Hill and the Showground on the island off north-east Tasmania.


Summers said feedback from the community made it “astoundingly clear” that they did not want the cameras on the island, which were not installed due to high crime rates but for public safety reasons.

“The intersection in Whitemark was chosen … in consultation with the police sergeant who was on the island at the time. He felt that that would be the best location for it. There have been issues around that intersection … crashes there before,” she said.


“So it’s more just about if something happened. I mean, we could put a camera everywhere on the island on the off chance that something might happen, but there have been incidents on that intersection before and the police officer felt that that would have been the best location.”

Summers admitted that even if detailed consultation had occurred, they would have likely been met with the same opposition from the community.

“I still reckon the community would have come back and said no this is not for us but at least if we had the information it might have allayed some of the fears that people had,” she said.

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