An organisation or agency that uses a surveillance device, such as a security camera or CCTV, generally must follow several laws.

If the Privacy Act 1988 covers the organisation or agency, then any personal information they collect through a surveillance device must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. The Privacy Act covers Australian Government agencies and organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, and some other organisations. Such an organisation or agency must:

  • tell you that your image may be captured before you’re recorded
  • make sure recorded personal information is secure and destroyed or de-identified when it is no longer needed

State and territory surveillance and monitoring laws also cover surveillance devices. For more information, contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory.

Residential security cameras

If your neighbour has a security camera pointed at your house and you’re worried about your privacy, first try to talk to your neighbour. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you could ask your local community justice or neighbourhood mediation centre for help (see the table below).

The Privacy Act doesn’t cover a security camera operated by an individual acting in a private capacity but state or territory laws may apply. For more information, contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory. However, if you’re concerned about your safety, contact the police.

You could also contact your local council to find out if the practice contravenes any local laws. Some councils require planning permission for security cameras.

If your property is part of a strata title, check the by-laws to see if they cover installing or using security cameras.

Help handling a dispute

If you live in ...Contact
Australian Capital Territory Conflict Resolution Service
Phone: 02 6189 0590
New South Wales Community Justice Centres
Department of Communities and Justice
Phone: 1800 990 777
Northern Territory Community Justice Centre
Department of Justice
Phone: 1800 000 473
Queensland Dispute Resolution Centres Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Phone: 07 3239 6007
South Australia Uniting Communities Mediation Service
Phone: 08 8202 5960
Tasmania Department of Justice
Phone: 1300 13 55 13
Victoria Dispute Settlement Centre
Department of Justice & Community Sa fety
Phone: 1800 658 528
Western Australia Legal Aid Western Australia
Phone: 1300 650 579