By Caris Horton
The Barnett government has amended anti-graffiti laws to allow for a maximum $24,000 fine and/or two years in jail for offenders in a move some are calling “backwards” and “draconian.”
Under the new Bill, police can confiscate offenders’ laptops and mobile phones and a new $6,000 fine could be issued if someone is caught with a graffiti implement like aerosol paint or markers.
National manager for online spray paint business MTN Australia, Jimmy Pizarro, says that the tougher laws are draconian and won’t discourage people.
He says that sales of graffiti and street art supplies have only increased in the last decade and he expects them to keep going up.
“For every one artist that the courts lock up, 20 new artists will pop up in their place,” he said.
Daek William, a Perth street artist, says that the government is backwards for creating such ineffective, harsh laws.
“Perth wants a Hosier Lane like Melbourne but it’s too controlling to let that be created,” he said.
Mr. William believes creating more legal painting spaces in the city will be more effective in stopping graffiti and encouraging art expression.
In an effort to battle graffiti, Shenade Unicomb, spokesperson for the City of Vincent, says the city is hopeful a new anti-graffiti coating over a Leederville skate park mural will stop future offenders.
The new coating will allow for graffiti over the mural to be washed away easily without getting rid of the mural’s paint underneath it.
The State Graffiti Taskforce estimates that a little over 30 million is spent every year to clean up graffiti.