Page 1810 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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That, more than anything else, is probably a very effective way of ensuring that those particular people do not offend again, especially when graffiti crimes, in the general gamut of the criminal law, are at the lower end rather than the higher end of the scale, as I said earlier. I think that is a particularly effective thing and I think the courts should do a lot more of that than they do. As Mr Pratt said, only 77 people were in fact apprehended. Obviously your government could do more there, Mr Pratt, but equally, for those people apprehended, there is more the court system could do.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt is not in government at the moment, Mr Stefaniak.

MR STEFANIAK: You have only apprehended 77—he gave the stats. I am impressing upon the court, in this instance, Mr Hargreaves, to take the most effective action, which has been shown in the past to be a significant deterrent. It also cleans up the mess these people make. People need to be made responsible for their own actions. We cannot excuse antisocial behaviour. I commend all that to you, Mr Hargreaves, and will be opposing your amendments.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.22): Apart from the government’s progressive approach to the management of graffiti that was outlined by the Minister for Urban Services, the government has also been employing a range of other strategies to improve the look of our city and instil a sense of pride in the community.

The new Litter Act 2004 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 30 September 2004, providing a more effective piece of legislation to deal with littering. The new provisions broaden the definition of “public place” to include any place that members of the public have access to, enabling an authorised officer to request the removal or formal clean up of litter, and include the revision of penalties to better reflect the varying degrees of severity of littering offences.

Under the new Litter Act 2004, there is the ability to issue infringement notices for offenders, ranging from $60 to $1,000. The new Litter Act has given our city rangers some teeth. A campaign is soon to be undertaken, concentrating on illegal dumping at charity collection bins, dumping in public laneways in Civic and in main shopping centres. On-the-spot fines of a minimum of $200 will apply to the city, and the city rangers will patrol the areas well into the evening, including some nights and weekends. The sites selected for surveillance will also be those known to suffer illegal dumping.

The ACT government has also initiated and supported several community-based programs aimed at raising public awareness and to address the issue of littering. These include the adopt a road program, clean up Australia day, and a trial of the butt-free city campaign in conjunction with the Butt Littering Trust.

The government is currently in discussions with the people from Keep Australia Beautiful, regarding participation in their sustainable cities awards program. Keep Australia Beautiful is an organisation that works with local government, community groups and dedicated individuals to promote a community ethos of taking care of the environment.

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