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MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Hird for his question. Unlike the previous Government, this Government is taking positive steps to curb the growing problem of graffiti in the ACT. I wish Ms Follett would go off more often than she does; she leaves Mr Berry in charge. Despite what Mr Berry thinks, the problem of graffiti existed well before the Carnell Liberal Government came to power, believe it or not. What Mr Berry has failed to do is tell the community that half a million dollars was spent just prior to the election - - -
Mr Hird: How much?
MR DE DOMENICO: Half a million dollars was spent just prior to the election, in a frenzied bid to clean up Canberra.
Mr Berry: And then you did nothing for months.
MR DE DOMENICO: I will get onto that in a minute. I thank you for the interjection. Departmental records show that more than half a million dollars was spent by Labor just before the ACT election on short-term schemes to remove litter and graffiti in Canberra. Of this, $230,000 was spent on a graffiti clean-up during the ACT election campaign. This scheme ran from December to March, with no money set aside for continued employment of the people involved. The Labor Party simply used the long-term unemployed as part of its political re-election strategy, and then planned to throw them onto the scrap heap.
In contrast, this Government is taking a concerted approach to combat the problem of graffiti. On 15 August, the Government launched its graffiti strategy. The strategy has a number of measures to ensure the quick and efficient removal of graffiti, including a dedicated team of seven people from City Operations, called the Can It Squad, which has been established to remove graffiti from public property and apply protective coatings to deter further graffiti. We also announced a spring clean-up day, to be held before the end of November. This will be modelled on the Clean Up Canberra Day, and will be organised and supervised in consultation with the private sector. In addition, a contract has been issued to City Group for the removal of graffiti from road and street signs. As you can see, this is a dedicated centralised approach, unlike the ad hoc system we saw under the previous Government.
We have also developed an Off the Wall Register to register high-risk graffiti signs and tags. Members of the community have been encouraged to report graffiti sightings to the Department of Urban Services. The number to call is 2076954. In just the first week that this number has been publicised there have been over 30 calls. In addition, we have been providing avenues for street art and community art murals. Two sites have already been identified in Civic for community murals. One has been organised in conjunction with Civil and Civic and another with the police. We have also announced that we will be looking at introducing, together with the retail industry and in consultation with the community, a voluntary code of practice for the sale of spray paint cans. This will be done in full consultation with the retail industry, as I have said, and will be monitored for 12 months. The legislation and associated penalties for graffiti vandalism will also be