New graffiti laws will make it easier for police and the courts to deal with graffiti offenders and will remove the risk to young hopscotch players which has existed since 1988, Attorney General Brad Hazzard announced today.
“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act modernises graffiti laws to deal with emerging threats such as acid etching, unifying the laws so they are simpler for police to apply and clearing the way for more offenders to be given clean up orders.
“In modernising the law, the final Bill clarifies an existing offence which technically, but improbably, could have stopped children innocently playing or dampened community spirit,” Mr Hazzard said.
The Act, which passed the Legislative Council today;
- introduces a new offence of aggravated marking for graffiti that can’t be readily removed by wiping, water or detergent which carries a 12 month jail sentence and fine of $2,200,
- clarifies that courts can include a community clean up order as part of a graffiti offender’s sentence even if hasn’t been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender, and
- includes an exemption to prevent a person from being prosecuted for chalking on a public pavement in NSW, technically an offence since at least 1988.
Mr Hazzard said a new report into Graffiti Removal Day, funded by the NSW Government, showed strong community support for a graffiti-free environment.
“Graffiti Removal Day 2013 saw an 83 per cent increase in volunteers, with almost 1100 community members taking part in the clean up,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Their work resulted in 23,140 square metres of graffiti being removed, saving taxpayers and businesses an estimated $1.5 million in clean up costs.”
Graffiti Removal Day 2014 will be held in October and for the third consecutive year, the NSW Government is teaming up with Rotary Down Under to run the event.
“The NSW Government has worked with communities to reinvigorate and protect public facilities, such as parks and sporting grounds, that have been spoilt by senseless vandalism, and we will continue with measures to strengthen local communities,” Mr Hazzard said.