Surf camera operators told to comply with law

July 5, 2022 BY

Lorne Surf Life Saving Club has hosted a surf camera for years. Photo: TIM LAMACRAFT

OWNERS and hosts of CCTV surf surveillance cameras will have to apply for approval to operate from the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCAPA) or risk being decommissioned.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) recently confirmed it has not given consent for any of the dozens of surf cameras in Victoria, despite it being a requirement under the Marine and Coastal Act.

The act only applies to cameras installed on Crown land, including at surf lifesaving clubs, and falls to local land managers such as GORCAPA to oversee.

“We are continuing to work with lease holders to raise awareness of our CCTV policy and leaseholder obligations,” GORCAPA operations director Daniel Aitken said. “Where we identify cameras that have not received our approval, they will be decommissioned. If leaseholders wish to continue operating cameras, we will assess them against our policy.”

Swellnet was recently ordered to switch off and remove a camera it operates at Fisherman’s Beach in Torquay by GORCAPA, and others at Anglesea, Torquay, Jan Juc, Lorne and other surf life saving clubs are likely to come under greater scrutiny given they are operating without approval.

Surfline’s recently installed camera at Anglesea is operating without consent.

All Crown land leaseholders must seek written permission from the GORCAPA before using CCTV equipment and adhere to its Use of Closed-Circuit Television Policy, including demonstrations of; how the CCTV footage will be used; the benefit of its use including to wider community; appropriate consultation with stakeholders and processes in place to safeguard the privacy of people likely to be captured on CCTV footage.

GORCAPA considers the positive benefits of CCTV usage to include beach patrols of lifeguard/life saving activities; discouraging property damage or theft and uses that show positive outcomes for
the community.

Negative impacts, according to GORCAPA, include commercial use in which the footage is sold or given to a third party and indiscriminate live broadcasting without a specific time-limited permit
in place.

“If the cameras comply with our CCTV policy, the next step would be to seek approval under the Marine and Coastal Act,” Mr Aitken said.

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