New graffiti removal program to put young offenders to work

It’s hoped a renewed partnership between the state government and City of Newcastle will see a reduction in graffiti across the city.

Traditionally, young offenders who are convicted of vandalising council owned properties have been required to remove it as part of their community service order.

From January, the program will be extended, as part of a 12-month trial, to all private properties across the local government area, including businesses.

Until now private property owners have always been responsible for removing graffiti themselves and have also had to wear the significant costs of the clean up. A piece of state legislation prevents local council workers from entering private properties to remove the graffiti.

The program extension won’t only support council and private properties, but also the young offenders who are trained alongside council’s outdoor cleaning teams to learn new skills, including removal of graffiti.

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath says its a win-win for everyone.

“It’s a wonderful program that teaches young offenders that community owned buildings are often home to important community services that deserve to be respected and protected.

“Almost 1,500 young people have worked with our staff over the past two decades improving the look and cleanliness of the city CBD, and in the process learning new skills that encourage them to respect public property.

“The time is now right to expand the program so that home and business owners whose properties have been tagged can ask to have the graffiti removed at no cost to them.

“Should a resident or property owner discover graffiti, all they will need to do is complete an online form on the City of Newcastle website and a crew from the Youth Justice NSW Community Service Order Program will be in touch to confirm when they will come to remove the graffiti,” Mr Bath said.