Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Justice Matters

Vandals to be forced to clean up graffiti

Liberal Statement

Every graffiti vandal will be forced to clean up graffiti damage under tough new laws to be introduced by a Liberal Government, if re-elected.
 
Premier Colin Barnett said a Liberal Government will create a new ‘Graffiti Vandalism Enforcement Act’ which would consolidate existing graffiti laws and require courts to impose a graffiti clean-up order on adult and juvenile graffiti offenders.
 
“Graffiti vandalism is a scourge on our buildings, public places and communities,” Mr Barnett said.
 
“Graffiti vandals deserve to be punished appropriately and deterred from committing future graffiti offences.
 
“\We believe the best way to do this is to force them to understand the time, effort and cost that goes into removing graffiti, and by doing so, make them think twice about vandalising property in the future.”
 
Currently, only some vandals who target buildings and property owned by State or local governments are made to clean up graffiti. The new laws will force all graffiti offenders to clean up graffiti damage and will also allow business and private residents to benefit
from this arrangement in addition to State and local governments. This will reduce the burden of these crimes on the community and further hold these vandals to account.
 
The Premier said the new graffiti laws were the final part of a re-elected Liberal Government‟s law and order platform, which also included tough new hoon laws and mandatory sentencing for criminals who invaded people‟s homes and caused serious injury to an
occupant.
 
“A Liberal Government will hold these vandals to account and reduce the burden of crime on the community by forcing them to fix the mess they have inflicted on the community,” he said.
 
“Graffiti vandalism doesn‟t just affect local governments, it affects entire communities -home owners and local business should not have to bear this cost and have a right to expect vandals are brought back to make amends,” Mr Barnett said.
 
Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper said the new orders would apply to all offenders unless it was impractical to do so, and would build on the highly successful Juvenile Clean Up program–introduced by the Liberal-led Government in 2010 – which had
seen several hundred juvenile graffiti offenders engaged in clean-up activities with a completion rate of 97 per cent.
 
Mr Cowper said under the new scheme, once a graffiti clean-up order was imposed by a court, the graffiti offender would be required to report to a Department of Corrective Services Officer and engage in graffiti removal as directed.
 
“Failure to comply with the order would result in the person being re-sentenced, potentially to a maximum of two years in jail,” he said.
 
“Building on the success of the Liberal-led Government‟s reinstatement of the Graffiti Taskforce in 2008, this final step will help us to ensure every vandal is held to account.
 
“Since the reinstatement of the taskforce, the number of reported graffiti offences has declined by 73 per cent, and the clearance rate for offences has increased from 8.8 per cent to 30 per cent, but more can and should be done.”
 
Mr Cowper said $1.35million per annum would be allocated to the Department of Corrective Services annually to fund the implementation of the graffiti clean-up orders.
 
Police Minister Liza Harvey said the graffiti clean-up orders would be based on powers other States had introduced, and would be part of a newly created ‘Graffiti Vandalism Enforcement Act’, which would also introduce a new stand-alone offence related to, graffiti
marking‟.
 
“Currently graffiti vandalism is captured under the broader offence of „property damage‟ in the Criminal Code,” Mrs Harvey said.
 
“By creating specific graffiti legislation and a specific graffiti offence, we will be able to more accurately gauge the extent of graffiti vandalism in WA and ensure more appropriate sentences are imposed.
 
“This legislation will be a key milestone in the fight against graffiti.” Mrs Harvey said the new legislation would consolidate other graffiti offences and provisions related to graffiti currently found in legislation such the Local Government Act, the Public Transport Authority Act, and the Prohibited Behaviour Orders Act.
 
The legislation would also include increased powers for the CEO of the Public Transport Authority to ban graffiti offenders from public transport.
 
“These vandals will spend a lot more time walking if they choose to scratch train and bus windows,” Mrs Harvey said.
 
Attorney General Michael Mischin said a Liberal Government would also continue to support the work of Crime Stoppers WA by committing funding of $200,000 a year.
 
“Crime Stoppers WA ensures public information about crime continues to flow to police, which in turn means crimes can be investigated and solved quicker,” Mr Mischin said.

 

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