· Mobile CCTV units have been deployed in Melbourne during COVID lockdowns
· City has been under strict Stage 4 rules which will were extended for two weeks
· Residents have expressed their concern over the covert CCTV surveillance
· On Saturday tensions erupted as anti-lockdown protests broke out in Melbourne
Melburnians have expressed outrage at mobile surveillance units that are being covertly deployed to monitor them during the city’s Stage Four lockdown.
One of the mobile CCTV trailers has been seen in Victoria Gardens in Prahran since last week, as well as other spots in the local government area of Stonnington, in the city’s inner-south.
‘If you have a look around, everyone is doing the right thing and there’s absolutely no need for us to be spied on. They have no regard for our civil liberties,’ David Grayson from St Kilda East told The Age after visiting the park on Sunday.
Mr Grayson also questioned whether the cameras would have any real impact on helping to enforce restrictions.
‘Are you telling me that someone is watching a screen somewhere and then sends the cops over when they see someone having a picnic or holding hands?’
Other residents have also voiced concerns over the mobile suveillance cameras and whether police and local government were overstepping their authority.
Denzil Griffiths from Prahran made a complaint to his federal MP Dr Katie Allen who represents the seat of Higgins.
‘This is just the latest intrusion in our lives and there’s no justification for this type of surveillance. This is a public park, where parents go with there kids, people walk dogs and old people go for exercise as they’re all entitled to do’, Mr Griffiths said.
Victoria Police have confirmed the units are deployed in other areas in Melbourne but would not reveal how many units there are or their locations.
‘The cameras can help to capture and deter breaches of Chief Health Officer directions as well as other crimes and community safety issues,’ ‘ a police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘For operational reasons we will not be providing commentary on how many of these units are being used or where and when they are positioned.’
The City of Stonnington also acknowledges the use of the CCTV on their website.
‘CCTV in Stonnington is part of a package of crime prevention measures … Cameras are located at Chapel Street precinct and Toorak Village, and there is also a rapid deployment CCTV trailer,’ the website states.
Melbourne was placed under strict Stage 4 lockdown at the end of July, which includes limits on businesses and social gatherings, rules that people must wear masks in public, and and 8pm to 5am curfew.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday the Stage Four restrictions in Melbourne would be extended for another two weeks until the end of September.
The announcement followed protests in Melbourne in Saturday in which hundreds of activists clashed with police officers, some on horseback, to rally against the lockdowns in the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ event.
Speaking on Monday, as Victoria announced another 41 new cases of COVID-19, Premier Daniel Andrews defended government’s decision to extend the strict lockdowns.
‘Victorians are putting forward arguments that they are safe and rules should be lifted. They are emotional and eloquent – but if you said yes everything and opened up we would have a lot more cases than we do today,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘That’s not what we want. We want to get out – defeat the second wave, open and stay open. That’s the aim. The answer to every business can’t be yes. If it were, yes they would be open for a short period of time but then they’ll be closed again.’
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records