PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council will seek a meeting with NSW Police to discuss the increasing prevalence of graffiti across the region.
Mayor Peta Pinson sought a meeting through council's chief executive Dr Clare Allen at the September 15 ordinary meeting of council.
All councillors agree that the CEO write to Superintendent District Commander, Shane Cribb, regarding the increase in graffiti in our local area and request a meeting with staff and Police representatives to discuss possible solutions.
"In recent weeks, council has received a number of emails from local residents concerned about the increase in graffiti around Port Macquarie and surrounding areas and the vandalism occurring on both public and private properties and infrastructure," Cr Pinson said.
"While staff are co-ordinating the cleaning and removal of graffiti on community assets, it is now opportune to work with our local police and other stakeholders to seek solutions to drive the amount of graffiti vandalism down.
"People are really upset by this. I've received numerous emails from concerned residents."
She said as an example, the Flynns Beach Medical Centre is "awash" with tagging and graffiti.
"It's not a good look for our town. We are a town of great natural beauty.
"Obviously with lockdowns there are less people out and about and less eyes watching what is going on," Cr Pinson said.
"We have had in the past graffiti busters volunteers who have gone out and assisted council in meeting the removal of these unsightly tags.
"It's got to a stage now with lockdown, we haven't had our volunteers out there. What is great to hear from the public is that they want to be a part of the solution rather than just complain about the problem."
A round table discussion was held with stakeholders and council representatives on September 16 to get the discussion started.
In July, after another spray of ugly tags across many parts of the town's popular coastal walk, local infrastructure and private business, council's acting group manager Hayley Owen said an audit had been completed and police have been notified.
"We are very aware of the increasing graffiti vandalism in the community and have been working with police and other organisations to try and tackle the issue together," Ms Owen said.
"We keep records of the tags that have been reported and these are made available to the police when they are requested.
"Our community spaces are to be appreciated as places to connect, be active, and enjoy the beautiful place we live in.
"It is extremely disappointing to see the increase of graffiti tarnishing our towns, and it takes both our crews and the local police away from other pressing matters."
Ms Owen said it is important for members of the public to report graffiti vandalism so council can action its removal swiftly.
You can report graffiti and find more information here Graffiti Management - Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (nsw.gov.au).
Council has a Graffiti Blaster volunteer program where volunteers work on a rotating roster, giving their time cleaning, removing, and painting over graffiti vandalism in the community.
This program however is on hold currently due to COVID.
Council also has its own teams to target vandalism depending on the location of the graffiti, and will remove tags from council-owned property.
Any graffiti vandalism located on private property, or a business, is the responsibility of the property owner to remove.
Unfortunately the majority of the graffiti in the community at present is on private property.
Council offers free graffiti removal kits to residents.
Graffiti is classified as malicious damage and can also carry an unlawful entry charge if the perpetrator commits the offence on private property.
Register your interest in council's Graffiti Blaster Program or request a Graffiti Removal kit on council's website pmhc.nsw.gov.au
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