Young people convicted of vandalising local properties will now be required to remove graffiti from shop fronts, as well as the walls of homes and businesses thanks to a partnership between the City of Newcastle and the NSW Government.
Traditionally, young offenders have removed graffiti from Council owned properties as part of their community service order. From January, private property owners will be able to request via the City of Newcastle to have graffiti removed from their home or business at no cost, as part of a 12-month trial.
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said the benefits of the program go far beyond cleaning vandalised property.
“Few people would be aware that for the past 20 years City of Newcastle has been supporting youth offenders through various community-based programs, with participants working side-by-side with our outdoor cleaning teams to learn new skills, including removing graffiti,” Mr Bath said.
“It’s a wonderful program that teaches young offenders that community owned buildings are often home to important community services that deserve to be respected and protected.
“Almost 1,500 young people have worked with our staff over the past two decades improving the look and cleanliness of the city CBD, and in the process learning new skills that encourage them to respect public property.
“The time is now right to expand the program so that home and business owners whose properties have been tagged can ask to have the graffiti removed at no cost to them.
“Should a resident or property owner discover graffiti, all they will need to do is complete an online form on the City of Newcastle website and a crew from the Youth Justice NSW Community Service Order Program will be in touch to confirm when they will come to remove the graffiti.”
Newcastle Youth Justice Office Area Manager Damian Baker said the graffiti removal program provides participants with an opportunity to give back to the community while developing new skills.
“Funding provided by City of Newcastle has assisted program participants with work readiness, pathways to employment and training through TAFE NSW and other job network providers,” Mr Baker said.
“Our focus is to introduce young participants to fundamental and transferrable skills required to assist in gaining an edge in a competitive job market for low skilled employment.
“Newcastle Youth Justice Community Office has received numerous commendations from both City of Newcastle and the Department of Communities and Justice in support for the continued commitment to provide reparation work and beautification to the city.”
Plans to recommence the current graffiti removal program and the added private sector service will commence from January 2022.
City of Newcastle supports Youth Justice NSW and its rehabilitation program with funding to assist with the procurement of equipment, materials and Personal Protective Equipment for participants.