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Offenders clean up their acts in anti-graffiti blitz.

Issued: 25 September 2013
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A mobile anti-graffiti brigade has hit the streets of Wyong Shire – with offenders scrubbing off and painting over tags to pay off their debts to society.

Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) and Wyong Shire Council today said the new project will devote almost 3000 free hours of offender labour each year to graffiti removal across Wyong Shire.

CSNSW's Hunter and Central Coast Community Corrections Director Rod Chenhall said the graffiti removal crew is the latest addition to several local offender community service work schemes. Together, those schemes give an estimated $500,000 worth of free labour each year towards beautifying the Shire.

"Through this anti-graffiti crew alone, Corrective Services NSW will provide Wyong Shire with $50,000 worth of free offender labour each year towards graffiti removal," said Mr Chenhall.

"For one day every week, offenders under the strict supervision of a Corrective Services NSW officer will be bussed to graffiti hotspots to clean and repaint fences, buildings and other damaged public property nominated by Council."

Mr Chenhall said the offenders on the anti-graffiti brigade have been sentenced by the courts to community-based work orders, meaning they must complete a set number of community service work hours within the timeframe of the order.

"This supervised offender work crew will help remove the visual blight of graffiti and improve amenity throughout Wyong Shire, while offenders repay their debts to society for crimes such as drink driving and unlicensed driving," said Mr Chenhall.

Wyong Shire Mayor Doug Eaton said the new crew of seven offenders have been deployed since last month and have already cleared graffiti from fencing along a 3.5km stretch of road in Warnervale. Now it is cleaning graffiti from walkways in Lake Haven.

"This is a wonderful initiative and one that will have a tremendous benefit to the Wyong Shire community," said Cr Eaton.

"Last financial year Council spent $155,000 on graffiti clean up and had more than 900 requests for graffiti removal from members of the public, so this scheme will help us step up the fight against graffiti.

"Council has provided this crew with a trailer of cleaning and painting equipment to ensure the offenders are well-equipped for the clean up."

CSNSW and Council also announced today they have signed a memorandum of understanding which formalises their 22-year partnership in community service work.

Mr Chenhall said other offender community service work provided by CSNSW in Wyong Shire includes dune care, upkeep of parks, maintenance of car parks and rubbish removal.

Cr Eaton said, "This offender labour provided by Corrective Services NSW gives a $500,000 benefit for free to Wyong Shire every year – a very valuable contribution to maintaining and beautifying the Shire".