CCTV cameras canned: Bentleigh big brother gets the chop by Glen Eira Council

GLEN Eira Council has won the battle to reallocate State Government funding for CCTV cameras in Bentleigh to community safety programs throughout the suburb.

The $150,000 had originally been set aside to pay for the installation of cameras in Centre Rd, Bentleigh, but will instead be used for projects such as locking bike cages and community education programs.

Bentleigh’s Liberal MP Elizabeth Miller has chosen which community safety projects get funding.

Glen Eira Council was the only council in the state to turn down the money, as it didn’t want to pay for the continued upkeep and monitoring of the equipment.

Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue took a swipe at councillors when he made the announcement last week.

The statement released by Mr O’Donohue’s office ­labelled Glen Eira’s councillors as “ideologically preoccupied … with scandalous disregard for the safety of ratepayers”.

Mr O’Donohue said: “It would not have been fair for the Bentleigh community to have missed out on this money just because of the council’s disgraceful decision.”

In ­November the council voted to ask the State Government if part of the money could pay for the continued cost of the cameras, but that was rejected by the minister.

Glen Eira Mayor Neil Pilling said the comments were out of line.

“The Minister and local member’s comments are totally unnecessary and disrespectful to democratically elected local councillors who, by a strong majority, made an informed and considered position on CCTV cameras in Centre Rd, taking into account the needs, costs and benefits to the Bentleigh community,” Mr Pilling said.

“Minister O’Donohue seems to believe Bentleigh is a crime hotspot which is in full contradiction to what both Victoria Police and council understand to be the true situation.

“Rather than resorting to these types of negative political comments, in my view, Mr O’Donohue and Ms Miller should be more focused on working with all groups in the community to deliver much needed and improved facilities and services.”

Among the 18 local community safety proposals to receive funding there are projects to install locks, lights and alarms on community facilities, secure bike sheds for nine local schools, and education programs about crime and anti-social behaviour.