LOW ACT: The people of St Annes Anglican Church were upset when they discovered their beloved building had been vandalised. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
LOW ACT: The people of St Annes Anglican Church were upset when they discovered their beloved building had been vandalised. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN260713ANN4

Church leader condemns actions of graffiti vandals

AN ANGLICAN church leader has condemned the actions of vandals who continue to desecrate Bundaberg buildings, churches and monuments with graffiti.

The wanton destruction by vandals is costing the community hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to clean up, with the bill for attacks on council buildings alone topping more than $100,000 annually.

Father Cliff Greaves said the former St Anne's Anglican Church on Kensington St had been assaulted by graffiti three times in the past six months.

"It was done again six to eight weeks ago and it hasn't been cleaned up again yet," he said. "The last two times, the police have got the people responsible."

Though it is not used anymore for church services, Fr Greaves said the building was being used daily.

"We use it for processing donations people give us so we can provide clothing and things for the poor," he said.

"Then (vandals) basically come and spit in their faces."

Fr Greaves said they had been getting the building ready to be taken over by the Coptic Orthodox to use for their worshipping.

"It's quite an important building for us and the community and for our Coptic community," he said. "To desecrate that is just senseless. It's not just the desecration; it's an abuse to the people."

Bundaberg Regional Council announced in November last year that graffiti-related clean-up work was costing the city more than $100,000, and the council has revealed that it is planning to launch an anti-graffiti strategy next month.

"Financially, it's horrendous," Fr Greaves said.

Fr Greaves said the Christ Church was also not immune to graffiti vandals.

"At Christ Church, we have had graffiti on the stone work and that's much more difficult to get off," he said.

"Building such as Christ Church, they are icons - it's in the middle of town, every tourist that comes here sees it.

"When you've got graffiti on it, it doesn't go well for our community at all."

He said it didn't matter whether it was a person's home, a church, or council - vandalism had the same effects.

"Why should God's house be any different to your home?" he said. "It's the same amount of abuse."

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said not only was graffiti expensive to clean, but pointless tagging left the entire city looking "unkempt" and detracted from the beauty of the area.

"Those who vandalise building and monuments in the town have no respect for not only any business in town but also those who live in the region," he said.

He said this year alone, police had recorded 62 vandalism offences. Of those offences, 28 had been solved, with a majority of the offenders being juveniles.

"So far this month, five offences have been recorded in Bundaberg," he said.

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