New approach at removing illegal graffiti will be adopted by Wollongong Council

Wollongong Council has adopted a new approach at removing illegal graffiti. Inset: Council’s manager of city works, Corey Stoneham

A NEW approach to target illegal and offensive graffiti in public spaces over the last six months will become a permanent part of Wollongong City Council’s work schedule.

Council has a target to remove non-offensive graffiti from public spaces within 20 working days. Council’s manager of city works, Corey Stoneham said this is achieved nearly 100 percent of the time, with an average of around 230 graffiti removal jobs each month.

The trial proactive graffiti program is aimed to remove offensive graffiti at an even faster rate. Now that the results are in, Council says it has recorded a massive increase in the removal of offensive graffiti around the community.

In response to this, Council has decided to make this trial program a permanent part of its work schedule.

“We measure how successful Council is at removing offensive graffiti by looking at the percentage of times we’re able to target and remove offensive graffiti within two working days, from when it was first recorded,” Mr Stoneham said.

“Before the trial began, we were roughly averaging a 30 percent success rate of removing offensive graffiti in this two-day window. Now, we’ve managed to push this close to 80 percent of the time. This is a fantastic achievement for the trial program.

“Council now plans to make the Proactive Graffiti Removal trial a permanent tool in our toolbox when it comes to managing and removing offensive graffiti.”

This isn’t the only way Council is working to keep the community clean and tidy and free of illegal graffiti.

Last year, Council partnered with the Corrimal Chamber of Commerce to launch a Graffiti Response Team to target illegal graffiti on private and public property. This initiative, led by the Corrimal Chamber of Commerce, aimed to encourage community members to take a more active role in flagging illegal graffiti with the right authorities so that it could be dealt with in a timely manner.

Corrimal Chamber of Commerce Spokesperson Paul Boultwood said he was pleased to work with Wollongong City Council and the Dapto Rotary Graffiti Removal Team on the project.

“The program started when we were contacted by Northern Suburbs locals about the amount of graffiti through the first lockdown last year on public and private assets throughout Wollongong,” Mr Boultwood said.

“We contacted Wollongong City Council and the Dapto Rotary Graffiti Removal Team to become partners in the project to remove any reported graffiti as quickly as possible. I encourage all citizens to report any graffiti via Council to share details about where it’s located so we can remove it.”

“This initiative was a real team effort by Council, Corrimal Chamber of Commerce and our broader community,” Mr Stoneham said.

“It really goes to show what’s possible when we all work together to make a difference on a local level. With the success of Council’s Proactive Graffiti Removal trial and the partnership of the Graffiti Response Team, we’ve been able to make a small but important difference to the look and feel of our community.”

You can report illegal graffiti to Council by calling (02) 4227 7111, by submitting an online form or calling the NSW Police on 131 444.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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