Australian city plans for more cameras and fines

The City of Perth is planning to spend millions of dollars boosting its
parking enforcement and surveillance arsenal over the next five years.
The five-year plans, which were approved unanimously by the council on Tuesday night, include $2.68 million for replacing and buying new CCTV cameras, upgrading the digital CCTV system and new touch screens in the surveillance room.

The plans include spending $400,000 on new vehicle-mounted parking camera technology from 2010-11 to boost productivity by parking inspectors. The technology can generally identify a car's colour, shape and licence plate and scan 1000 vehicles an hour.

A further $700,000 has been earmarked for 500 underground vehicle sensors to be installed from 2011-12 in addition to the 500 sensors that the council approved last month. The high-tech system can automatically detect parking "overstays" and is credited with a 57 per cent increase in revenue from parking fines in Cottesloe last year.

Perth councillors acknowledged that parking was a big revenue-raiser with $52 million forecast from parking fines and fees this financial year. Last July, a council spokesman said that it was "not actively pursuing" vehicle-mounted parking camera technology. However chief executive Frank Edwards said this week the technology, while requiring more investigation, was particularly effective in areas with time restrictions.

The council also backed spending $60,000 on static cameras to monitor its taxi ranks for "overflowing" on to the streets, which caused traffic problems in areas such as Mill Street outside the Hilton Hotel and William and Aberdeen streets. Mr Edwards said using the cameras would allow rangers to quickly identify and fine offending drivers.

The council approved a dozen long-term plans on Tuesday night, most over five years, covering footpaths, lighting, Christmas decorations, drainage, parks and landscaping, parking and security. Of those, $10.47 million is proposed on new fit-outs, carpet and maintenance at heritage-listed Council House. Under the plans a new $1.1 million exhibition space will be installed in the Town Hall in 2014-15. Each plan will require further approval in council annual budgets and by the council.
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