The Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney MP, today announced applications for the latest round of Victoria’s Graffiti Clean-up Community Grants program are now open.
Ms Tierney urged the Western Victorian Shire Councils to take advantage of the program to tackle graffiti in local neighbourhoods.
She said the one-off grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 would fund initiatives in which councils partnered with community members and groups to clean-up graffiti.
“I encourage council and community members to apply under this program as it not only helps to clean-up graffiti, it helps to make people feel safer and more secure in their own neighbourhoods,” Ms Tierney said.
“These grants are a further demonstration of the Brumby Government’s commitment to reduce fear of crime and build friendly, confident and safe communities across Victoria.
Ms Tierney said $4.5 million was allocated in the 2009 State Budget to tackle graffiti over the next two years. Of this, $600,000 will be available over the next two years for council-managed graffiti clean-up projects.
“These grants bring together councils and community members to produce local solutions to a shared problem,” Ms Tierney said.
“The funding kick-starts community ideas and action and helps to build sustainable clean-up programs.
“Funding is available for such things as buying purpose-built graffiti removal trailers and materials to establish community-based projects that clean-up local infrastructure,” she said.
Ms Tierney said the program supports the Graffiti Prevention Act which commenced in 2008. The Act introduced graffiti-specific offences with tough penalties including up to two years prison and fines of up to $27,000 for marking graffiti. The Act also gave police new powers to search for and seize graffiti implements such as spray cans.
She said the graffiti grants also complemented the current Corrections Victoria Graffiti Removal Program which uses low-risk offenders to clean graffiti from community infrastructure as a punishment for their crime.
Ms Tierney said the tough graffiti laws and a range of clean-up programs demonstrate the Government’s commitment to helping the community fight the scourge of graffiti.
“Graffiti vandalism is a crime, pure and simple,” Ms Tierney said.
“Local residents and traders across the State should not have to put up with their property being vandalised by mindless graffiti.
“The Brumby Government understands the concern about graffiti and has developed this initiative to support local councils and communities clean-up graffiti and prevent it from returning.”