Vandalism is an issue that affects public and private property in our villages and the CBD. Last year the City of Sydney removed an incredible 265,000 pieces of graffiti and bill posters from buildings, bus stops, fences and street poles.
Vandalism can create an atmosphere of neglect and can give the impression our city is unwelcoming or unsafe. It devalues property prices and costs the City more than $2 million every year.
One of the best ways to combat vandalism is to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
The City is responsible for removing vandalism, including graffiti and posters, within three metres of City-owned or public authority roads. Graffiti on privately owned properties that can be seen from a public place can be removed if the owner gives consent.
We have installed nine 'poster pillars' across our villages and high streets to give people an alternative to postering on other people's property without consent. These pillars have proved extremely popular and are cleaned once a week.
While offensive and inappropriate graffiti will be removed, the policy also looks at how staff should respond to unauthorised art.
City staff are asked to exercise good judgement about what is vandalism in need of immediate removal, and what may be public art that can be maintained.
The recent example of the Elizabeth Street Gallery, where photos were installed on the side of the Goulburn Street Car Park, actually improves what many people agree is one of Sydney's ugliest buildings. The mural 'Three Strong People' in Newtown is another example.
This common-sense approach, backed up by a rigorous policy, let's the City maintain clean streets and public spaces while giving room for creativity and culture.