State Government cash splash to fund new cultural and security projects
10am: LOCAL councils have been handed $458,000 in State Government cash to help fund projects including Chinese heritage displays, a tribute for fallen soldiers and an increased CCTV presence in Cairns' CBD.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli was in Cairns to announce the cash splash this morning, which included $100,000 for a network of wi-fi CCTV cameras.
Cairns has also received $88,000 to start work on a Chinese heritage trail on Grafton St, which will bring artefacts and interpretative displays to the busy city street that was once dominated by Chinese businesses.
A $30,000 grant will go to the Avenue of Honour at Lake Tinaroo, where the parents of fallen soldier Ben Chuck have proposed a tree-lined memorial for those who have died in the Afghanistan war.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council secured $240,000 for various projects including new lights for the showgrounds.
The new CCTV technology can reach further than the current fibre system, enabling security operators to rove the CBD and beyond.
Police and businesses earlier this year called for the network to be expanded after attacks occurred on the fringes of the inner-city, particularly the intersection of McLeod and Spence streets, Water St and main thoroughfares to North Cairns, where thugs preyed without fear of being monitored.
"This project effectively creates a mobile network for areas where the fibre nodes don't work,'' Mr Crisafulli told The Cairns Post.
"With mobile wi-fi, it's not something the crooks can get into a comfort zone, knowing the cameras are in certain areas.
"These cameras can be moved from crime spot to crime spot.''
The council will contribute $150,000 to the upgrade, adding to the 90 CCTV cameras already installed, and erecting towers and antennas throughout the city.
The current cost of operating the network, along with patrols and maintenance of the hardware, is about $1.6 million a year.
James Cook University research findings presented to Mr Crisafulli last week show the CCTV network reduced late-night incidents by 40 per cent in a 22-day period in the CBD, equating to 200 fewer fights or assaults each year.
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