Cairns Probation and Parole and Cairns Regional Council have launched an Anti-Graffiti Taskforce, putting offenders to work cleaning up graffiti.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said under the program offenders serving sentences on community based orders will clean up graffiti in the Cairns area as part of their punishment.

“Graffiti affects everyone in a community, from residents and business owners to local government, utilities companies and public transport operators,” Mr Pitt said.

“Research indicates that graffiti can cause residents to be more fearful of crime and encourage offenders to commit further crimes.

“The Taskforce has identified public areas needing attention including bus stops in the Bentley Park area; the public use area in Ravizza Drive and other nominated public spaces,” he said.

Mr Pitt said the offenders would be using a trailer purpose built by prisoners at the Wolston Correctional Centre and painted by Indigenous prisoners at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre.

“It is estimated there is approximately 10 days community service work in the locations targeted,” Mr Pitt said.

“Cairns Police have also requested that Probation and Parole investigate the use of community service workers to clean up litter hotspots in the city.

“As of 30 June 2009, 1965 offenders were subject to Community Service Orders and 331,773 hours of Community Service was performed 2008-09 across Queensland,” he said.

Minister for Police and Corrective Services Neil Roberts said the local Cairns community has had huge benefit from the work offenders on community service orders have performed.

“Every day across Queensland, offenders supervised by Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) are involved in worthwhile projects that give back to local communities,” Mr Roberts said.

“They have helped to maintain and improve sporting venues, cemeteries and parks; sort recyclable items for resale by charities; and assist in food preparation and laundry services for residential care establishments.

“Offenders perform a variety of activities on various projects including the removal of graffiti, garden and lawn maintenance, rubbish removal, sorting clothing for charities like Lifeline, food preparation for aged care facilities and general cleaning,” he said.

In the last financial year, 545 offenders completed 27, 037 hours of work totalling $473,159 in the Cairns Region on projects including:

  • Mulgrave Land Care and Catchment Group
  • Animal Welfare Cairns
  • Volunteers FNQ
  • South Cairns Community Church
  • The Rock Church
  • Lifeline Edmonton
  • Hopevale Shire Council
  • Hopevale Family Responsibilities Commission
  • Wujal Wujal Justice Group
  • Cooktown Shire Council
  • Bamaga Police Station

The most common offences committed by community service offenders range from property damage, fraud, and theft to traffic and vehicle-related offences.

Offenders who fail to comply with their orders are removed from the community service project and returned to court for breach action.

The court may impose a fine, make an order for them to continue with the community service, or re-sentence them for the original offence.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier said the work of community service offenders would help to beautify the most graffiti affected areas in the region.

“Nobody wants to live in an area that has been vandalised with graffiti and this program will help Council to keep on top of our graffiti removal program,” Cr Schier said.

“This will add to the large number of important programs that community service offenders contribute to across our region.”