05 October 2010

Ipswich graffiti bill soars

RATEPAYERS are spending twice as much money on removing graffiti as they did last year, new figures have revealed.

Statistics obtained by The Queensland Times show Ipswich residents spend more than $20,000 a month on the removal of graffiti vandalism.

This figure included wages for two full-time staff, a dedicated vehicle and a graffiti trailer.

But at the end of April in 2009, council had spent just $11,000 a week on graffiti clean up during the past 17 months.

Those figures have exploded in the past year.

Parks, Sport and Recreation Committee chairman David Morrison said the money would be better spent elsewhere.

“Every dollar we spend on removing graffiti vandalism is one dollar less we can spend on improving the city of Ipswich in terms of infrastructure and community programs,” he said.

“We as a council are just as frustrated, if not more frustrated, than the rest of the community.

“Unfortunately this is not a problem we can address on our own. It will take a whole of community effort from residents, police and the council.”

Cr Morrison said the $1.95 billion Ipswich Motorway upgrade had become a target for vandals in recent months.

“What really disappoints me is driving along the motorway and seeing graffiti,” he said.

“This is the entrance to our city, and the brand new multi-million-dollar infrastructure has been vandalised from Gailes all the way to Dinmore.

“I liken it to a dog marking its territory. These vandals go out of their way to mark their territory by tagging it.”

Cr Morrison said suburbs along the rail line were often targeted during the school holidays.

“I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but it is certainly something I have noticed,” he said.

“It might be a case of different gangs moving through the area from time to time.

“We would encourage people to report cases of graffiti as soon as they see it.”

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