WA vandals bus ban

Tougher new laws aim to deter graffiti vandalism as huge cost of damage is revealed in WA

Public Transport Authority (PTA) will have the power to ban serial graffiti offenders from buses, as part of new laws announced for Western Australia this week.

New laws will increase the penalty to up to two years jail and a maximum $24,000 fine.

Graffiti removal cost PTA $7 million in the last financial year, and is a costly problem for route and school bus operators everywhere.

WA police minister Liza Harvey says it is time to get tough on people intent on intentionally causing such costly damage.

"Delivering this election commitment sends a clear message to those people who have a complete disregard for someone else's property, that they are committing a serious offence and will pay a high price," she says.

"Local councils and many home and business owners know the grind of cleaning up graffiti vandalism.

"Now offenders will understand the effort it takes to clean and plenty of time to rethink their unacceptable behaviour."

The WA Government is committed to reducing anti-social behaviour, Harvey says, through tough laws and providing police with the resources they needed to combat crime.

"We endeavour to clean graffiti vandalism within 24 hours and now we will remove the ability for the vandal to broadcast it.

"If it isn't already, now graffiti vandalism will truly be the most pointless past-time in WA."

The new Graffiti Vandalism Bill includes strengthened PTA powers to ban serial offenders from buses, trains and stations and allows for the confiscation of property used to record and transmit graffiti vandalism – such as smart phones and laptops.

Other changes include the introduction of mandatory clean-up orders for convicted vandals, strengthened local government powers to enter private property to remove graffiti and making it an offence to possess a graffiti tool or implement.

WA police reported 16,025 verified graffiti offences in 2007-2008, but this dropped to 1,933 in 2014-2015 – due to the gradual introduction of harsher penalties. ­

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