Wollongong's graffiti hotline runs cold

Wollongong Advertiser

Keira MP Ryan Park has used damning figures to support his claim that the NSW government's Graffiti Hotline is a waste of money.

Only three reports were made to the hotline from the Wollongong Local Government Area and one from the Shellharbour LGA from July 2013 to February 2014.

Mr Park used the government's own figures to demand the money spent on this hotline be given to local councils to clean up graffiti.

"Only a couple of Illawarra residents have bothered contacting this service and it beggars belief that the NSW Liberal government would think that a phone line was the best way to manage what is becoming an ever-increasing problem," the Shadow Minister for the Illawarra said.

"Each and every week local residents and small business owners raise concerns with me about unsightly graffiti. I also know that Wollongong City Council is regularly called on to remove tags and offensive writing.

"It is now time for the NSW government to stop wasting money on telephone services and direct that to local councils who really do the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to removing graffiti."

It's well known that living in a clean, tidy environment helps residents feel safe and instils community pride.

But when your local surroundings are covered by unsightly graffiti, the opposite occurs - people feel unsafe and become more concerned about crime, and apathy arises.

That's why the state government needs to abandon its graffiti hotline for the Illawarra because it's clearly not working.

Figures obtained by Keira MP Ryan Park show that in a eight-month period between July 2013 and February 2014, there were less than a handful of phone calls to the government's graffiti hotline from Wollongong and Shellharbour residents.

Wollongong council deals with the majority of complaints about graffiti through its own hotline, so it only makes sense for the government to stop wasting money on its own hotline and fund councils and community groups to tackle the graffiti problem.

It's clear that graffiti needs to be painted over as soon as it appears - if it's allowed to linger it will just encourage more tagging.

The government's hotline is another example of needless and wasteful duplication by different levels of government.

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