26 Aug 2019 News

Labor MP Sonja Terpstra launches Facebook group to clean up graffiti quicker in Croydon

Story Credit: Kiel Egging, Maroondah Leader

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Maroondah Mayor Rob Steane and Eastern Region state Labor MP Sonja Terpstra want to clean up Croydon’s graffiti problems through a new Facebook group. Picture: Josie Hayden

A Labor MP is encouraging people to take pictures of graffiti, tag their local councillor and post it on Facebook in a bid to top the scourge spreading in Melbourne’s outer east.

Social media is being used in the fight against graffiti with a dedicated Facebook page set up to stop the scourge spreading in Croydon.

Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Sonja Terpstra has started the ‘Residents Against Graffiti — Croydon’ group which has the support of Maroondah Council.

It encourages group members to upload pictures of graffiti they see on council property and tag their ward councillor and the council.

Ms Terpstra partnered with Banyule Council for a similar initiative before she became an MP. She said it helped speed up graffiti removal in the area and she was keen to trial the initiative in Croydon. “It made people feel positive that there was an immediate response,” Ms Terpstra said. “Graffiti is an issue and I don’t think Croydon is different to other areas, but the council was happy to work with it and give it a try.”

Mayor Rob Steane said councillors and council staff would monitor activity in the group and pass on reports of illegal graffiti to officers for action. “There is always too much of it (graffiti) and it’s frustrating,” Cr Steane said.

“Croydon does not have a bigger problem than any other area, but this is another tool in our arsenal to get rid of it.”

Cr Steane said the council was not authorised to remove graffiti on power poles, train tracks and other non-council owned infrastructure. But he said it offered free graffiti removal kits for people to use on their properties.

Croydon state Liberal MP David Hodgett felt the initiative was doubling up on an SMS number to alert the council to graffiti. But he said he supported any initiative from either side of politics to remove tags in Croydon. “Graffiti drives people nuts and it’s a constant battle in terms of resources to clean it off,” Mr Hodgett said.

Nathan Hill, who runs The Croydon Project Facebook page, said Ms Terpstra’s new group was “a wonderful initiative” which he hoped would lead to “a progressive approach to street art projects or programs around Croydon”.

Details: ‘Residents Against Graffiti — Croydon’ on Facebook

Eastern Region state Labor MP Sonja Terpstra snaps some graffiti on a fence in Croydon with Maroondah Mayor Rob Steane. Picture: Josie Hayden