Graffiti & Illegal Rubbish Dumping

1.What is it?

Graffiti is the deliberate act of marking words or images on property without the permission of the owner.  Graffiti may involve writing, drawing or marking surfaces, commonly with spray cans or felt tip pens; or scratching surfaces with sharp instruments.  Types of graffiti may range from single instances of ‘tagging’ – where the vandal writes their ‘signature’ – to more elaborate ‘mural’ style works that may also incorporate a signature.  Commonly targeted surfaces include fences, walls, buildings, vehicles and signage.  Vandals may target public or private properties. 

It is important to distinguish between illegal graffiti and commissioned works of ‘urban’ or ‘street’ art that are carried out with the permission of the property owner.  Such art works can even assist in deterring illegal graffiti. 

2.Legislation

Graffiti is recognised as a crime under the Victorian Graffiti Prevention Act 2007.  Under the Act, it is an offence in Victoria to:

  • mark publicly visible graffiti on property without the owner’s consent;
  • sell spray paint to someone under 18 unless they have proven it is needed for employment purposes;
  • possess a graffiti implement with the intention of marking unlawful graffiti;
  • possess, without lawful excuse, a spray paint can while on or adjacent to public transport property, or where the person is trespassing;
  • advertise spray paint cans for sale, if the advertisement is likely and intended to incite or promote unlawful graffiti.

The Act also includes police investigative powers and a framework for councils to remove graffiti from private property.  The offence of marking graffiti attracts maximum fines of more than $29,000 and up to two years imprisonment.

3.Prevention – How to prevent graffiti on your property

There are a number of simple ways you can help prevent graffiti attacks on your property:

  • choose textured, rough or non-solid (eg. mesh, grill or lattice) surfaces for fences or walls.  Such surfaces make it more difficult to apply graffiti;
  • paint solid surfaces in dark colours as these are less attractive to graffiti vandals;
  • plant shrubs or trees in front of graffiti prone areas to limit access and attractiveness to vandals.  The use of vines or spiky plants can be particularly effective;
  • keep areas well lit by installing sensor lighting where appropriate;
  • quickly remove any instances of graffiti.  This can help to deter repeat attacks;
  • consider using anti-graffiti coatings on surfaces that are particularly prone to graffiti.  This will assist with easy removal should an attack occur;
  • maintain your property – poorly maintained properties are more likely to attract graffiti.

4.Removal – Tips on removing graffiti and where you can get help

The rapid removal of graffiti is important as it aids in both determent and removal.  The longer the graffiti remains, the more offenders are ‘rewarded’ with increased recognition – rapid removal tends to discourage further attacks by lessening the impact of the graffiti.  Graffiti removal from some surfaces can be extremely difficult – in these circumstances, the less time graffiti material has to penetrate the surface the easier removal may be.

Rapid removal also increases township amenity and helps the community feel safe and well cared for. 

Residents and businesses are responsible for the removal of graffiti from their own properties.  To support the community in these efforts, the Shire provides FREE graffiti removal kits, and discount vouchers for the purchase of paint, to assist the removal of small graffiti attacks on private properties.  Kits can be obtained from Shire offices or by calling 1300 850 600. 

The ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ activities provide local community groups and service clubs with an opportunity to organise a local ‘graffiti removal day’ and participate in this annual community event, and are requested to coordinate these initiatives by contacting the Shire well ahead of this annual event.

Local community groups and service clubs that wish to assist individual private property owners who become victims of graffiti and discount vouchers for the purchase of paint, from the Shire offices or by calling 1300 850 600. 

Download the Graffiti Fact File(DOC, 69KB) for a table which indicates products that can be effective in removing graffiti from a range of surfaces.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has successfully obtained six portable graffiti removal systems through the Community Crime Prevention Program as part of a Victorian State Government initiative to tackle graffiti in local communities. Read more about the Graffiti removal kits

5.Reporting graffiti in your area

Early reporting of graffiti is important as it maximises both the opportunity for rapid removal and the possibility that police may apprehend an offender. 

The Shire encourages the community to report graffiti to the police.  If you have information about offenders responsible for graffiti vandalism, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.   Anonymity is guaranteed.

You may also report graffiti vandals in the Western Port region to the Police by emailing  Hastings-Uni-Graffiti@police.vic.gov.au

Graffiti vandals in the Mt. Eliza, Mornington, and Mt. Martha region can be reported to the Police at Mornington on (03) 5970 4900

Graffiti vandals in the southern region of the Mornington Peninsula can be reported to the Police at Rosebud on (03) 5986 0444

Where graffiti is on Shire property, the Council aims to remove it as quickly as possible after it is reported, within 5 working days.  Particular priority is given to graffiti that is considered offensive and removal will be arranged within 1 working day.  If you notice graffiti in your area, please contact the Shire on 1300 850 600

Where graffiti is on the property of public utilities, you may report it directly to these utilities, all of which have graffiti removal programs:

Vic Roads  Tel: 131171 - Option for road issues is 1 then 2; www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

United Energy  Tel: 132 099; 1300 131 689;  www.ue.com.au

Telstra  Tel: 13 22 03;  F0204433@team.telstra.com

Bus Shelters  - Adshel  Tel: (03) 9865 9600

South East Water Tel: 13 16 94; info@sewl.com.au; or  www.southeastwater.com.au; or  www.ourwater.vic.gov.au

V/Line  Tel: 1800 800 007  (V/Line maintains the Frankston - Baxter – Somerville – Tyabb – Hastings – Bittern – Morradoo – Cribb Point – Stony Point rail network)

VicTrack owns Victoria’s railway land, station buildings and trains, however most of these assets are leased to rail operators  victrack@victrack.com.au

If you have any questions or require further information regarding graffiti prevention or removal, or wish to report graffiti on Shire property, please contact Shire Customer Service on 1300 850 600

6.Illegal Rubbish Dumping

Illegal Rubbish Dumping refers to the dumping of large items of rubbish on public land such as roadsides, bushland and coastal reserves and parks or private land without authorization. Rubbish dumping is a criminal offence and can incur heavy penalties. 

To report illegal rubbish dumping make a note of the following information and contact us on: 1300 850 600 or 5950 1000.

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Type of dumped material and amount
  • Any other information (e.g. car rego or description of the person)

Report Illegal Rubbish Dumping by using our Make a Request online form or please contact Shire Customer Service on 1300 850 600.