Government introduces security camera reforms for ACT bars and nightclubs


Government introduces security camera reforms for ACT bars and nightclubs

All ACT bar and nightclub licensed venues will be required to use security cameras, and venue operators will be required to retain security camera footage for 30 days.

The changes are introduced in the Liquor Amendment Bill 2023, tabled in the Legislative Assembly today by ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury, and aim to deter violent incidents and support venues and police to conduct thorough investigations into any that occur.

“These changes are aimed at deterring violent behaviour in bars and nightclubs, and ensuring that if this behaviour does occur, that it is easier for police to investigate the incidents and help ensure justice for victims”, said Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury.

“People enjoying Canberra’s local entertainment scene need to be able to do so confidently.”

Until now, security camera requirements for bars and nightclubs have not been consistent. Requirements have been determined either by terms settled by the regulator as part of a venue’s Risk-Assessment Management Plan or by the imposition of standard terms applied as a security camera condition (introduced in 2017) on the licence.  

The bill will standardise requirements for security cameras for certain classes of liquor licence, remove ambiguity and provide certainty to the liquor industry and the public.

The new legislation will require security cameras in licenced venues to be clearly visible, with a sign at each entrance to indicate that patrons may be recorded. In consideration of privacy requirements, deletion of security camera footage will be required after 90 days at the latest.

Quotes attributable to Eliza Wilson, Advocate for the Prevention of Sexual Violence:

"I’m very pleased that action is being taken to strengthen safety in the ACT. I hope it will help prevent and provide some accountability for those who decide to target those in places like bars and nightclubs, where one should be able to have fun with their friends without fear.

“And most importantly, I hope this change means no one will have to go through an experience similar to mine."

Quotes attributable to Sarah Williams of What Were You Wearing Australia:

“I’m exceptionally happy to welcome the mandatory use of security cameras in licensed venues. It will make a huge change, allowing perpetrators to be held accountable and ensuring venues comply and respond in appropriate ways to victims of sexual violence, assault, and drink spiking.

“Patrons will now be able to attend venues knowing they are a lot safer, that venues are being held to appropriate standards.”