Surveillance politics and local government: a national survey of federal funding for CCTV in Australia
Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is increasingly utilised by local councils across Australia. Local government CCTV operated in conjunction with police has brought about new challenges for democracy. This article explores survey results regarding the provision of federal funding to 18 local councils to install CCTV. The costs to councils of operating CCTV have been largely unforeseen. This article examines the contemporary political context in Australia to illuminate reasons why funding is allocated to local councils. CCTV funding is driven by populism and political pressure rather than a more objective rationale. This article suggests the need for new directions in local council CCTV evaluations, and for critical evaluations that take into account not just the financial and social costs of CCTV but also political trends. Critical evaluations have the potential to strengthen the capacity of local councils to make more empowered and informed decisions about the costs and implications of operating CCTV.