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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (3 August) . . Page.. 3314..


MR WOOD (continuing):

is a time-consuming exercise. The owner may not live in the property. It is just too difficult to try and tie it down by these means and the government cannot support the amendment.

MRS CROSS (12.15): The Helen Cross Independents will not be supporting this amendment, which we have just received. I concur with Mr Wood: I think you either have the bill and do what needs to be done or you do not have it. You cannot have middle ground in this issue, which has caused the community much anxiety and concern. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen this bill two years ago. But at least the minister has done the right thing and the bill will be passed today. So, I cannot support this amendment.

MR CORNWELL (12.16): The opposition will not be supporting the amendment either, Mr Speaker. I am a bit puzzled in that when the government introduced this amending legislation they pointed out the difficulties of contacting people who were the owners or perhaps the renters of a property. How is this amendment going to assist the problem? If you cannot contact them immediately, how are you necessarily going to contact them within 24 hours? I am flummoxed by this. I do know, however, that in so many cases we are fast approaching a situation where this city is becoming the cotton wool capital of Australia, where everything seems to be controlled, everything seems to be checked and rechecked, and community consultation is taken to an absurd degree.

I think we need to recognise when we are dealing with these issues that street art is not something that some local Leonardo da Vinci decides to put on a wall. It is quite often done by agreement with the owner of the wall. The fact is that you do not go out and put things on walls without asking permission and, indeed, this has happened on a number of occasions. There is one at Hackett-a large dragon-and I do not think anybody would imagine that this is graffiti. It looks very nice.

My colleague Mrs Burke tells me that Pappas, J in Civic were approached to put something on their wall and they agreed. Okay, I do not have a problem with street art but I do not accept that we can justify amending proposed section 14A (4) to delay by 24 hours the removal of unauthorised graffiti from fences and walls. It just seems to me to be an absurdity. People must accept that if they are going to indulge in this sort of activity they might like to consult the owners of the buildings, the wall, the fence, whatever, first, and then perhaps we might get some commonsense into this. But at the moment it seems to me that this amendment would only be yet another sop to the graffiti vandals in this city.

MS TUCKER (12.19): The Greens will support this amendment. I do not quite understand Mr Cornwell's argument. How is urban services to know whether consent has been given if they can immediately remove what is on the wall of a private building? So basically we have a situation where urban services can remove what is on a wall without having any idea, it appears to me, about whether it was authorised and whether the owner was happy for it to be there. All Ms Dundas's amendment is doing is allowing at least 24 hours in which an attempt can be made to contact a person.

I raised in my initial response the difference between graffiti art, or street art, as people are calling it now, and tagging. I heard the minister say that they do not particularly want to target street art. But the obvious point that I raised in my initial response was that this


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