ABC crew flies drone over NSW prison

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating whether an ABC crew will be charged after police seized footage from a drone which flew over Tamworth Correctional Centre.

Prison officers spotted it flying over the prison at 9am yesterday and followed it to 7:30 reporter Bridget Brennan and cameraman Michael Noll who initially claimed they were shooting general footage of the area.

“Under further questioning, the journalist admitted they were capturing footage of the centre and did not have a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licence to do so,” a Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said.

An ABC spokeswoman said: “A team from 7.30 was filming today near Tamworth Prison. Some Corrective Services officers and police approached them. A discussion ensued.

“The 7.30 team identified themselves and explained what they were doing. That was the end of the incident.”

Source: News Corp


  1. Drones weighing less than 2kg do not need to be licensed.
    Owners only need to notify CASA of their use if it is for commercial purposes.
    Drones under 25kg can also be flown without licensing or notification requirements if they are used for “sport and recreation”
    If the ABC has breached CASA’s safety rules the potential fine is up to $9,000.
    CASA doesn’t investigate privacy issues.

    Apparently this 1936 judgement still applies:-
    “Any person is entitled to look over the plaintiff’s fences and to see what goes on in the plaintiff’s land. If the plaintiff desires to prevent this, the plaintiff can erect a higher fence.”

    • Airspace above prisons is, depending on state law (it is the case in Qld & NSW – I just looked), restricted airspace up to a certain height. Can’t operate a drone – big or small, commercially or non-commercially – in that sort of restricted airspace.

      Though the legislation is state-based, CASA is the organisation responsible for issuing licences to operate in, & investigating breaches of, all controlled airspace – state or federally defined.

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