Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 617 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

I am pleased to see that the Minister, Mr De Domenico, and the Government recognised that it was a serious problem and responded to the campaign that was being run out in the community. I think that is a good thing. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating - the sorts of results we will get from the approaches that have been taken by the Government.

One of the recommendations in the report calls on the Government to report to the Legislative Assembly on the operation of its graffiti clean-up squad. A short while ago, the issue of turnover amongst those squad members became a problem because it was reported to me that there was a problem with the training of people using the chemicals that were required to clean graffiti off signs. The paint and products used are designed to stay where they are sprayed on; therefore, they need fairly savage chemicals to remove them, with proper training for people who are using them, and proper protection and so on. That issue is one for the Government to deal with, and in a response to this report I would like to see where the Government is coming from in terms of occupational health and safety for those workers who are involved in it.

During the debate on this issue there have been some suggestions that those who put the graffiti on should be forced to clean it off. For the people making the recommendation I think it was heartfelt; it is a clean-up-your-own-mess sort of approach. But it is not possible with these sorts of clean-up requirements because, principally, you want a professional job and you want people using chemicals that are possibly toxic to be properly trained in their use. So whilst that might be a noble suggestion from some quarters of the community - not one I agree with, I have to add - it is not possible.

The report places an emphasis on the display of street art and it draws a distinction between street art and vandalism. I do not think legitimate street art is a problem, providing that it is properly practised and properly led. Another important recommendation of the committee is that some funding be provided for at least one youth arts outreach officer, one of whose duties would be to facilitate the legal expression of street art.

Some might look at this report and say that because it makes these recommendations in relation to the art side of things it is soft on graffiti. For my part, it is not soft on graffiti. Graffiti needs to be dealt with quickly. I think we have all seen the evidence that if it is cleaned up quickly there is less incentive for people to put their tag on various public buildings and public signs and so on, and the job in front of the Government is to keep up with it. I know that the Government will complain that there are limits to what it can do in this regard, but if we are going to clean up the graffiti problem it is going to have to address the issue, and I can assure the people of the ACT that, where added focus is needed, I will raise it with the Government.

One other issue that was raised in the context of graffiti in the dying moments of the committee was the issue of billboards and posters. We have all seen the posters that are inappropriately fastened around the city and we have called on the Government to use its graffiti clean-up squad to remove those inappropriate billboards and posters. At any election they are likely to be more prominent.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .