Young graffiti artists will be made to clean their mess
JUVENILE graffiti offenders will be put to work to clean up messes under a new plan to help councils fight graffiti in their local communities.
Queensland Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said proposed changes by the Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to the Youth Justice Act 1992 and the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 would give councils the ability to use offenders aged between 12 and 15 to remove graffiti in their own communities.
"Graffiti vandals show a blatant disrespect for public property and should be made to clean up their mess," Mr Crisafulli said.
"The people of our towns and cities deserve better than to have their community facilities, such as parks, recreation halls and cycleways, trashed.
"Our plan will see young offenders take responsibility for their actions by removing their dirty work under the supervision of local councils and community groups.
"We are determined to end the softly, softly approach of letting juvenile offenders off with little more than a slap on the wrist."
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk welcomed the proposal and said it would complement other graffiti deterrents Brisbane City Council had already implemented, such as CCTV cameras and its Taskforce Against Graffiti (TAG) joint initiative with the Queensland Police Service and Crimestoppers.
"I want Brisbane to be Australia's cleanest, greenest city and this proposal would go a long way towards helping juvenile offenders clean up their act, in more ways than one," Cr Quirk said.
"Since 2009 Council has spent more than $15 million on graffiti enforcement and removal, so we need to get the message out there that graffiti is a dirty habit that will not be tolerated."
The Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012, which will bring in the changes to the two Acts, will allow authorities to divert young graffiti offenders who are charged or admit guilt to a graffiti removal program.
The programs would be run in conjunction with Youth Justice Services. Up to $50,000 from the ongoing GrafittiSTOP program would be set aside to pay for supervisors in areas where graffiti removal programs do not currently exist.
Mr Crisafulli also urged residents across the state to make use of the GraffitiSTOP hotline, 1300 Graffiti (1300 472 334), to report incidents of graffiti that need cleaning up and help their communities win the battle against crime.