CURBING alcohol-fuelled violence and crime in the heart of Warrnambool has been placed on the political radar in the lead-up to the federal and local government elections.
Candidates in both races are pushing for increased surveillance of notorious crime hotspots around venues and nightclubs.
Warrnambool City Council will apply for a state government grant to establish about 10 CCTV cameras when the fund opens this month.
Meanwhile, the federal opposition this week announced a $50 million fund, which would allow councils to apply to install CCTV cameras and extra street lighting.
In May this year, the council failed to gain a $250,000 state government grant to install CCTV cameras, which would be operated by police under a memorandum of understanding.
The council is expected to reapply for the grant with an outcome likely to be known by early next year.
However, a spokesman for the council said competition for the state government crime prevention fund was fierce with only about 20 out of 100 applications successful.
“Warrnambool is one of the few regional cities in Victoria that doesn’t have it (CCTV),” the spokesman said.
If successful, fixed CCTV cameras would be installed in the city centre, while mobile cameras would be used at Lake Pertobe during summer.
First-time Warrnambool City Council candidate Brian Kelson has included the push for CCTV surveillance as part of his election campaign.
“It’s a tool that can be used. I would like to see them installed throughout Warrnambool,” Mr Kelson said.
“I believe the young and the elderly have a right to move around the streets in safety at any time of the day.”
Mr Kelson, who owns Gateway Jewellers, said his business had used CCTV for much of the past 32 years and footage had been used to assist police in cases of nearby incidents.
He also played down concerns that installing cameras could be an invasion of the public right to privacy.
“We don’t live in a perfect world — if you’re doing the right thing then where is the problem?” he said.