By Jonathan Mimo
Waverley Council intends to crack down on graffiti after a spate of “incidents” across Bondi have left some residents upset.
Liberal councillors Joy Clayton and Tony Kay put forward a motion at the February 18 council meeting to investigate how other neighbouring councils approach graffiti prevention. The motion also requested council to consider graffiti prevention measures at ‘hot spots’ in the local government area that are frequently targeted.
Deputy Mayor Tony Kay said Waverley Council “can improve its graffiti management by learning what others do” while ensuring any new measures adopted align with changes to the NSW Graffiti Control Act.
“Graffiti ruins the way places look, and can cause distress to local residents and visitors. We must do our best to deter it, and to remove it as soon as possible,” Mr Kay said.
The move follows the NSW Government’s intention to overhaul its own graffiti laws after a review found the Graffiti Legislation Amendment Act 2012 – which imposed additional penalties including fines, community service work and delaying the awarding of a driver’s licence – was ineffective.
But Lenore Kulakauskas, convenor of the Bondi Beach Precinct Committee, questioned whether another review was worthwhile.
“How they deal with it now is fine, you are never going to stop graffiti so all you can do is go around and clean it up,” she said.
Greens councillor Dominic Wy Kanak has been supportive of the new investigation but hopes council’s response can also acknowledge graffiti as art and recreation.
“Youth alienation resulting in ‘tagging’ has a lot to do with the social policies pursued by state and federal governments,” he said.
“Council’s obsession with graffiti needs to be balanced against the process of allowing developers to tag our streets with ugly ego-driven ‘designs’ while condemning graffiti which often has more artistic value.”
Graffiti tags may contain the name of the tagger, and police use this information as well as comparing styles to investigate potential offenders.