The Member for Oatley Mark Coure is urging people to report sightings of graffiti to the NSW Government’s new free State-wide hotline, saying it will help clean up what is a blight on community pride.
“Until now there has been no single number to notify authorities about graffiti, which has caused confusion and delays in removal,’’ Mr Coure said.
“The NSW Graffiti Hotline will make it easier to report graffiti in NSW, which will result in faster clean ups.”
The hotline (free call 1800 707 125) opened on March 1 and will operate from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
Every Local Government area in NSW has established an email address to receive referrals from the Graffiti Hotline and police will also be given the data.
“Anyone can phone the hotline to report graffiti in NSW and callers can remain anonymous if they are concerned for their privacy and safety,” Mr Coure said.
“After receiving a report, hotline operators will send the information to the Government agency or local council responsible for cleaning it up.”
Mr Coure ridiculed the notion that taggers and others who deface property without permission were “artists”. “They might like to think of themselves as artists, but they are really vandals who show no respect for other people’s property, Mr Coure said.
Mr Coure said the hotline delivered on an election promise and would form a key part of the NSW Government’s strategy to reduce the impact of graffiti on local communities.
The O’Farrell Government has also funded clean-up squads run by Rotary and other community groups and is working with local councils on reducing graffiti.
“Each year, graffiti attacks cost the state more than $100 million, and State Rail alone spends more than $50 million alone cleaning up trains,’’ Mr Coure said.
“This is money the Government would prefer to be spending on our schools, libraries and roads.
Graffiti is a scourge on our community and the cause of great anger for people who take pride in their surroundings, ’’ Mr Coure said
The Graffiti Hotline will also help authorities focus on locations that most often under attack.
“Information gathered from the hotline will help police respond to graffiti and assist in the development of innovative programs to prevent this crime,” Mr Coure said.
“By getting rid of this unsightly rubbish quickly, we hope to discourage vandals by denying them the notoriety they crave.
“It will also help build community pride and reduce fear of crime.”