Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1137 ..
MINISTER FOR URBAN SERVICES
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY QUESTION
QUESTION NO 12
Mr Stanhope - asked the Minister for Urban Services:
In relation to the installation of surveillance cameras on ACTION buses
1. Did the minister advise the people of Canberra, on Prime Television, on 11 May 1998 that the use of surveillance cameras on ACTION buses would be subject to safeguards under the Privacy Act. If so, can the Minister
a) advise which provisions of the Privacy Act are relevant to his statement, and
b) provide details of the specific steps taken to implement the Information Privacy principles.
Mr Smyth - the answer to the Member's question is as follows:
On 11 May 1998 I released the attached media statement on the ACTION video surveillance trial. This statement clearly states that ACTION has developed strict procedures on operating the cameras and viewing video tape and that these strict procedures are to protect people's privacy.
ACTION is subject to the Privacy Act 1988. In preparing these procedures, ACTION sought advice from the ACT Government Solicitor in order that these procedures complied with the Privacy Act and did not breach the Information Privacy principles. A copy of the ACTION Overt Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Protocol is attached for the Members information. This protocol provides specific details of steps taken to implement the principles including the placing of signs in the buses fitted with the video cameras notifying passengers of surveillance.
Video surveillance has been introduced on a trial basis to improve public transport safety for both passengers and bus drivers. This is a public safety issue.
The recent national Fear of Crime report stated that travelling alone by public transport at night was the single biggest fear for most Australians. I am pleased to say that is mostly a perception rather than a reality in Canberra but we are not immune from crime. My job is to ensure people's safety on public transport and this is why this trial has been introduced - to improve public transport safety for everyone. The safer that public transport is, the more people will use it. Everyone benefits from a safer service.