ACT News


Community engagement has worked to reduced illegal graffiti in the ACT

The ACT government is waging a war on the $500,000 public cost of removing illegal graffiti by engaging the community in legal street art spaces and workshops.

Transport and City Services planning manager Patrick Nolan said falling numbers of complaints and requests to remove illegal graffiti had proved the efforts had been paying off.

The government appointed the territory's first graffiti co-ordinator in 2016 and the hunt is on to fill the position again for a further 12 months.

Applications closed in late June for the contract position with an advertised salary of between $79,824 and $91,356.

The vision is for the co-ordinator to bolster the number of volunteers in graffiti busting groups and to expand programs that engage youth and illegal artists through mentoring with accredited street artists to encourage them to divert their energy to some of the city's 25 legal graffiti sites.

"We believe and we are hopeful that by engaging with young people we are reducing a lot of tagging," Mr Nolan said.


"There has been a reduction in the requests we get to remove graffiti," he said.

Mr Nolan said savings gained from a reduction in removals were being channelled toward community graffiti workshops and other similar programs.

Southside suburbs, particularly those between Woden and Tuggeranong, bore the brunt of illegal tagging according to the government's figures.

Mr Nolan said summer months and school holidays were peak periods for illegal graffiti.

He said the new co-ordinator would work with schools to mitigate the issue as well as aim to recruit more community volunteers to remove tags swiftly and deter areas from being hit again.

Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick said community street art workshops were fantastic but tagging remained an issue for Woden, particularly in the town centre.

She said, "disused and derelict buildings were prone to attract taggers".

The council is working in collaboration with the territory on a community mural project for a facade on Melrose Drive and has sought final approvals from the building owners on the concept design.

A fee of up to $5000 will be paid to the artist for the project and work was expected to get underway in several weeks' time.

Mr Nolan said the community councils embracing street art in this way delivered a two-fold benefit.

"One, it takes a wall out of circulation for illegal tagging," he said.

"But secondly, when people involved in graffiti or street art see these things being done in a major area by a major town council they start realising there are greater opportunities for them than tagging."