Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is urging residents across the Cootamundra electorate to throw their support behind Graffiti Removal Day on Sunday, October 21, to reclaim the region’s graffiti hotspots.

“People are sick of vandals defacing public amenities and it’s time to send a clear message that the community has zero tolerance for tagging,” said Ms Cooke.

“Whenever I see graffiti anywhere in our beautiful part of the world, it saddens me because it is simply vandalism.

“This is a community where people love where they live, which is why I’m urging locals to roll up their sleeves and volunteer for Graffiti Removal Day.

“Cleaning up graffiti-damaged sites shows vandals we won’t stand for this kind of anti-social behaviour that leads to public spaces such as buildings, parks and train stations being turned into eyesores.”

Since its inception in 2012, the number of Graffiti Removal Day volunteers across NSW has increased from 597 to over 1800 in 2017. In its first year, people removed graffiti from 100 sites, with that number growing significantly to 428 last year.

Overall, roughly 120,000sqm of graffiti has been removed since it began, which equates to an $8.8 million value in savings for private owners and the government.

Attorney General Mark Speakman thanked the community for working together to reduce graffiti in all corners of the state.

“Every year the turnout gets bigger and bigger, which proves graffiti is a bugbear the community could do without,” he said.

“While people think it’s only teens and young adults who commit these offences, we are seeing people as old as 40 getting caught tagging.

“However, tougher penalties for graffiti appear to be having an impact with 5698 incidents of graffiti reported by NSW Police between July 2017 and June 2018 – down from 9926 six years ago.”

To volunteer for Graffiti Removal Day or nominate a clean-up site, go to: www.graffitiremovalday.org.au

Caption: Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke gets the paintbrush out with volunteer Sarah to get ready for Graffiti Removal Day. On Sunday volunteers will help remove graffiti from sites nominated by members of the public.