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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (11 February) . . Page.. 173..


MR CORNWELL (continuing):

The media release then tells us that the government spends a great deal of money on the removal of graffiti. It talks about an event for young people being organised on 1 May 2004 which will include a demonstration by professional street artists. I think that is a little late, too. The media release goes on to say:

While the Strategy is being developed, there are ways in which the community can continue to contribute to the Government's anti-graffiti campaign.

I would think that was a contradiction in terms, but never mind. The media release continues:

Building owners should immediately remove graffiti from their properties as soon as it appears...

Why? Why should business owners remove graffiti? If the government is doing nothing to combat this vandalism, why demand or expect the business community to go ahead and remove graffiti? We are spending over a million dollars on tourism in this city and I can well imagine the concern of the government if the business community does not bother to remove graffiti. But I fail to see why, in the absence of effort from this Labor government, the business community should be expected to cooperate.

Mr Speaker, I believe that it is important to reintroduce this legislation. Although the government's tardy action on this matter may be commendable, I do not believe that we should wait until June this year before firm action is taken: hence, my reasons for reintroducing the legislation.

When I introduced my bill of 2003, Mr Stanhope raised a legal question about the word "absolute"in the phrase "absolute liability". I have spoken to the parliamentary counsel and Mr Stanhope's concern about "absolute liability"has been changed in the new bill to "strict liability". I understand that this will overcome the problem that he highlighted in relation to the prosecutions.

Mr Speaker, I repeat that I have no hesitation in reintroducing this legislation. I believe the government has been remiss, and has been remiss for some time, in its actions against graffiti vandalism. But the rejection last year by the government of the spray can legislation-a rejection which was wholeheartedly supported by the Democrats and the Greens-has encouraged an outbreak of graffiti vandalism the like of which we have not seen before in this territory. This is to their shame and it is to the shame of those who support them on the crossbench-and I deliberately mention the Greens and the Democrats because I do not want to put all the crossbenchers into the same category. I believe it is high time that the government admitted its mistake and did something about this matter well before June of this year. I commend the legislation to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Karralika drug rehabilitation facility-development

[Cognate motion:

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee-reference]


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