By Jim Mynard Gazette Packenham 21st February 2007 08:00:17 AM

A CITY of Casey councillor has commended a State Government discussion paper on the prevention of graffiti.

Cr Wayne Smith of River Gum Ward said a draft bill and the intent of the Government were recognition of work already being done by council.

The Graffiti Prevention Exposure Draft Bill aims to reduce the financial and social costs of graffiti, provide a strong deterrent and ensure that graffiti vandals are held accountable, and to reduce the incidence of graffiti.

However, the bill faces opposition from another councillor. Cr Michael Farley of Springfield Ward warned that the bill could establish a reversal of human rights that puts the onus on authority to prove a person guilty.

He said he was worried that one component in the planned laws was to provide searchandseizure powers for police and power for authorised persons to enter private property to remove publicly visible graffiti.
“I am worried that people could be searched without a warrant.
“That’s a reversal of our civil liberty,” he said.
The government paper said the most common graffiti type was “hiphop graffiti”.
This includes tagging, a combination of letters that identify a particular graffiti offender.
Taggers generally seek fame in the graffiti community by displaying their tag in as many public places and visible areas as possible.
Most are under 25 and come from a wide range of social and family situations.
“Young people apply graffiti for a variety of reasons,” the paper said.
“These include expression, as an art form, to alleviate boredom, and an adrenalin rush.”
Rebellion and mischief were also reasons for marking graffiti listed by young people in a review.
None of the participants in a study saw their behaviour as threatening or harmful to the community.

“Those who participated in a Geelong study and no longer did graffiti said formal detention and prosecution, peer and family condemnation, and council graffiti removal policies as reasons for stopping graffiti activities,” the paper said.