Victorian Graffiti Prevention Act 2007
The Victorian Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 aims to:
- reduce the significant financial and social costs of graffiti to the Victorian community
- provide a strong deterrent to perpetrators of graffiti and promote holding perpetrators accountable for their actions
- reduce the incidence of graffiti in Victoria.
Graffiti Offences and Penalties
The Act contains a number of graffiti related offences and their penalties, including:
- marking publicly visible graffiti, or offensive graffiti, on private property without the owner’s consent – up to 2 years prison and a maximum fine of $39,653
- possessing, without lawful excuse, a spray paint can while on or adjacent to public transport property or infrastructure, or where the person is trespassing on private property – a maximum fine of $4,130 or an on-the-spot fine of $826
- possessing a graffiti implement with the intention of marking graffiti – a maximum fine of $4,130.
Offenders may also be charged with property damage offences under the Summary Offences Act 1966.
Spray paint cans sales restriction
Anyone under 18 years of age must show proof (a letter or statutory declaration from their employer) that the spray paint is required for work.
Selling a spray paint can to anyone under 18 years of age other than in circumstances where the person can demonstrate that they need the paint for employment purposes – a maximum fine of $3,304 or an on-the-spot fine of $330.
Advertising a spray paint can for sale, if the advertisement is likely and intended to incite or promote unlawful graffiti – a maximum fine of $8,261.
Penalty amounts are current as at February 2021. The penalty amounts are indexed on 1 July each year - a penalty unit in 2020-21 is set at $165.22 and rounded to the nearest dollar.
Police search powers
If an on-duty police or protective services officer reasonably suspects that someone is in possession of a spray paint can, they can (without a warrant) search the person if they are on or near public transport property or they are trespassing on private property. Police and protective services officers can also search any vehicle, package or other thing the person has in their possession.
Special search procedures apply for 14 to 17 year-olds which include:
- a pat-down search over a person’s outer clothing
- a search of that outer clothing and gloves, shoes and headgear (which must be removed on police request)
- a pat-down search of the next layer of clothing under the outer clothing (which has been removed on police request).
Under 14 year-olds cannot be searched for spray paint cans.
The Act provides that local councils may, but are not required to, remove graffiti from private property. Before they do this they must:
- ask permission from the property owner or occupier. If the council has to enter private property to remove graffiti, it must give 28 days notice of the intended graffiti removal. If entry is not required, only 10 days notice must be given. In either case, if the property owner or occupier objects to the graffiti removal, council cannot remove it
- once permission is gained to remove graffiti, the council can take further action to remove subsequent graffiti within 12 months without giving further notice
- authorise people with the right type of skills and experience to remove graffiti from private property. An authorised person must carry an identification card (which includes their photograph and signature) which must be produced on request
- ensure all work to remove graffiti on private property is done with care, to a reasonable standard and without causing any unnecessary inconvenience to the property owner or occupier.