No place for racist, offensive and obscene graffiti in NSW

    Posted: Saturday, 19 February 2011 | By: Kristina Keneally

    In an Australian first, a re-elected Labor Government will amend the Graffiti Control Act to give judges the power to deem racist, offensive or pornographic graffiti as an aggravated offence – carrying tougher penalties for offenders.

    Further, judges will have more powers to force offenders to remove graffiti and expand the current scheme to dramatically increase the number of vandals sentenced to clean-up orders.

    These measures are part of Towards Graffiti Free Streets a $10 million package featuring more than $4 million in new initiatives – unveiled by Premier Kristina Keneally today in Blacktown today.

    It also includes:

    • Creation of the NSW Graffiti Unit – a new single contact point for the reporting and removal of graffiti across the state;
    • Rollout rapid-response Council Graffiti Blockout Trailers - fund 20 purpose built graffiti response trailers equipped with generators and airless spray equipment for rapid response to graffiti vandalism;
    • A trial of real-time graffiti detection technology by RailCorp;
    • $1 million in annual graffiti hotspot grants and this year, it will include: Blacktown, Campbelltown, Mt Druitt, Gosford and Newcastle;
    • An expansion of the program to make offenders clean up their own graffiti to Wollongong, Newcastle and Gosford; and
    • Implement a $2 million public campaign online and across radio and print to deter graffiti vandalism.

    “The bottom line is this: racist, offensive or obscene graffiti is simply wrong and has no place in our society,” Ms Keneally said.

    “Graffiti is not a victimless crime: it destroys property and costs taxpayers and property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

    “That’s why we’re giving judges the powers they need to crack down on these criminals, give them tougher sentences and force them to clean up their own mess.”

    The latest NSW Government figures show graffiti costs the State at least $100 million a year.

    The official database maintained by the Australian Jewish community reports, there are between 15 to 20 serious antisemitic graffiti incidents in NSW each year such as daubings on Jewish places of worship.
    Keep Australia Beautiful CEO, Peter McLean, welcomed the plan.

    “These initiatives will be particularly effective in bringing graffiti rates down,” Mr McLean said.

    “The Government's plan adds to its on-going commitment to tackling graffiti state-wide and further emphasises that graffiti will not be tolerated.

    “On 15 May, the community of NSW will stand united on Graffiti Action Day to fight graffiti vandalism by cleaning up graffiti across NSW.”

    Ms Keneally said the new measures build on the comprehensive Graffiti Action Plan in place in NSW to tackle graffiti on all fronts.

    “Under the Plan, we banned the possession of spray paint cans by juveniles, doubled penalties and gave courts additional powers to order vandals to clean up their graffiti,” Ms Keneally said.

    Under the graffiti removal program in 2010, more than 250 offenders were required to clean up graffiti in its first year alone.

    Young offenders, in particular, spent a total of 8,111 hours – the equivalent of 1081 days work – extraordinary amount of time scrubbing off graffiti last year. That is 63% more than the hours served by offenders in 2008.

    “In the 12 months to September 2009, there was a 23 per cent drop in police recorded graffiti incidents in NSW compared to 12 months before,” Ms Keneally said.

    “We plan to drive those numbers down even further in 2011.”

    Background Notes
    Current penalties

    • In 2009 Labor doubled the maximum penalties under the Graffiti Control Act for graffiti vandalism from 6 months to 12 months in prison and possession of a graffiti implement from 3 months to 6 months in prison.
    • We also banned the sale of spray paint cans to minors punishable by a fine of $1,100 and introduced graffiti clean up orders.
    • Police can also confiscate spray paint cans from minors in a public place, under laws we introduced in 2007.
    • Where more serious property damage is involved, graffiti vandals can also be charged under the Crimes Act with malicious damage, punishable by 5 years in prison, and there are a range of graffiti offences provided for under the Summary Offences Act that relate to protect specific property types (such as war monuments and other places of public importance).
    • There are also offences in the Rail Safety Regulations. For example, $2,200 for graffiti to any train or rail infrastructure.

    Safer Communities – Towards Graffiti Free Streets

    • Crackdown on obscene, racist and pornographic graffiti
    • All graffiti vandalism is destructive and deserves a tough punishment, but a particularly damaging form of graffiti is that which is obscene or indecent.
    • People do not deserve to be exposed to words or pictures that are pornographic, incite racial hatred or advocate drugs or violence, in particular children and young people.
    • If re-elected NSW Labor will amend the Graffiti Control Act will introduce tougher penalties for "obscene or indecent‟ graffiti.

    Make more offenders clean up graffiti

    • If re-elected NSW Labor will expand the graffiti clean up orders scheme offenders who have committed related offences such as malicious damage and potentially quadruple the number of offenders on clean up orders.
    • We will also expand it to three new areas: Wollongong, Newcastle and Gosford.

    Stop graffiti on our trains

    • Launch "Rapid Removal" graffiti pilot program from March 2011 – including a trial of real-time graffiti detection technology and improve anti-graffiti education in schools.
    • Rollout community clean up teams with "Graffiti Blockout Trailers"
    • Fund 20 purpose built graffiti response trailers equipped with generators and airless spray equipment for rapid response to graffiti vandalism.
    • Trailers will be staffed by volunteer teams organised and deployed by local councils in key local areas.
    • Police would conduct proactive policing of graffiti hotspots painted over by response teams to prevent reoffending.

    Create the NSW Graffiti Unit

    • Create the NSW Graffiti Unit – a new single contact point for the reporting and removal of graffiti across the state.
    • The NSW Graffiti Unit will refer incidents and reports to local graffiti removal agencies and police for rapid removal.

    $2 million anti graffiti public campaign

    • Implement a $2 million public campaign online and across radio and print to deter graffiti vandalism.

    $1 million annual graffiti hotspot funding

    • Continue the $1 million annual grants program that funds anti graffiti design treatments in hotspot locations.
    • This year, the $1 million in funding was delivered to hotspots locations including Blacktown, Campbelltown, Mt Druitt, Gosford and Newcastle.

    Graffiti Action Day 2011

    • A renewed commitment to the Graffiti Action Day – a dedicated day on May 15 2011 for the community to help clean up graffiti with Keep Australia Beautiful

    Anti Graffiti Action Team

    • Continue the taskforce of stakeholders including retailers, the paint industry and government agencies developing new anti graffiti initiatives.

     You can see the Towards Graffiti Free Streets policy document here.

    Tags: crime, graffiti, Kristina Keneally, law, NSW Labor

View all News


Western Sydney Regional Assembly
View all videos


RSS View all blogs


RSS View all news