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Published date: Monday, 15 October 2018

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Sutherland Shire is fighting the battle against graffiti with help from a crime prevention project that’s transformed 1,500 square metres of vandalised walls in Caringbah into stunning artworks.

In the lead up to Graffiti Removal Day this Sunday, 21 October, Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Walk the Walls initiative, helped with $50,000 from the NSW Government, is one of the best examples of graffiti prevention in NSW.

“Since the murals were completed seven months ago, there’s been next to no vandalism on them, which is an exceptional result and demonstrates that Sutherland Shire residents love where they live,” Mr Speakman said.

“The artworks have become a major drawcard for locals and visitors, activating laneways and public areas that people previously avoided, while making it less attractive for graffiti vandals to leave their ugly tags.”

The project, a partnership between Sutherland Shire Council and the NSW Government, engaged visual artists to create 28 large-scale murals on graffiti covered walls and culminated in a successful Walk the Walls event in March which attracted over 8,000 people.

Mr Speakman said local communities are fed up with vandals attacking public and private property including fences, public parks, buildings, schools and trains.

“Graffiti Removal Day continues to grow in popularity because community pride prevails over senseless vandalism. Graffiti was wiped out at 428 sites across NSW in 2017 – up from a 100 in 2012,” he said.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce, said graffiti is an ongoing problem that council is determined to tackle with the government and community.

“Since July last year, council has removed close to 11,000 square metres of graffiti across the Sutherland Shire,” Mr Pesce said.

“Graffiti Removal Day is a great opportunity for the community to roll up their sleeves and join the fight against graffiti so we can make a difference. We are also supporting more public art to reduce vandalism, revitalise neglected spaces, develop positive relationships with youth and boost the local economy.”

In the Sutherland Shire alone, recorded incidents of graffiti dropped from 335 in 2015-16 to 248 in 2017-18. Over the same period, recorded incidents of graffiti across the state fell from 6,599 to 5,698.

Show that you ‘Love Where You Live’ by joining hundreds of volunteers on Graffiti Removal Day on Sunday 21 October by enrolling at www.graffitiremovalday.org.au.