Graffiti prevention and management

Graffiti facts
Graffiti prevention tips
Who is responsible for removal?
How to report graffiti
What is Council doing about graffiti?

Graffiti facts

  • Graffiti is vandalism and is illegal – it is a crime.
  • There are many different types and styles of graffiti – tagging, stencilling, throwups are a few.
  • Graffiti vandals have no regard for private or community property and seek recognition from their peers.
  • Graffiti costs the community directly through clean up response and insurance premiums. It also leads to public perceptions of neglect, disorder and concerns about safety.
  • There is no single solution - graffiti management and prevention involves a multi-faceted approach and is a shared responsibility between Council, the Queensland Police Service and the community.

Graffiti prevention tips

  • Join Neighbourhood Watch and share responsibility with your neighbours to help prevent and report graffiti.
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles seek to reduce opportunities for vandalism through design of buildings and facilities.
  • Well-lit areas may deter graffiti vandalism.
  • Remove graffiti as soon as possible after reporting it.  Graffiti that is left tends to attract more.  Keep a supply of colour-matched paint so you can quickly paint over any graffiti in future.  Protective coatings and smooth surfaces can make graffiti removal easier.
  • Dark colours are less attractive to graffiti vandals.
  • Keep your property secure so vandals cannot easily access your walls or rooftops. Creepers, bushy foliage, grilles or lattice along walls can screen your surfaces and limit the amount of solid surface for graffiti vandals.

Who is responsible for removal of graffiti?

On Council property:
  • Council is responsible for removing graffiti from community assets and infrastructure owned and/or managed by Council.  This can include roads, footpaths, street signs, rubbish bins, parks and gardens and council buildings such as libraries and community halls.
  • Council has a prioritised rating for removal of graffiti.  Highest priority is the removal of obscene, offensive, racist or defamatory graffiti and vandalism on prominent sites or sites of significance (target - removal within 24 hours).  Extensive tagging in highly visible areas has a target removal of 10 working days. In low profile or low visibility areas, council will program removal over a longer period to prioritise resources toward removal of offensive material and high profile sites.
On private property:
  • Private property owners or occupiers are responsible for removing graffiti on their premises.
  • Under the Queensland Government's Summary Offences (Graffiti Removal Powers) Act 2008, Council can remove publicly visible graffiti from private property (where the graffiti can be removed without gaining entry to the property).
  • Council can also leave a graffiti removal notice for the owner/occupier, or seek the owner/occupier's consent to access the property in order to remove the publicly-visible graffiti.
  • Contact the Queensland Police Cairns District Police Centre on 4030 7000 to report graffiti damage.

How to report graffiti

Graffiti is the illegal and wilful damage of property. It is a crime under the Queensland Criminal Code Act. You can help us manage graffiti in the community by reporting it quickly.

If you see any graffiti please make contact via one of the following methods:

Crime Stoppers

If you have information on graffiti vandalism, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Anonymity is assured and there are cash rewards if information leads to arrest of a graffiti vandal.

Private property

Contact the Cairns District Police Centre on 4030 7000 to report graffiti damage.

Cairns Regional Council property

Phone Council on 4044 3044 (Cairns) or lodge a Request for Service online.

Australia Post mail boxes

Phone 13 13 18

Railways property

Phone Queensland Rail on 13 16 17 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Street lights (Ergon Energy)

Phone Ergon Customer Service on 13 10 46 (7am-6:30pm) or email

What is Council doing about graffiti?

Council is committed to addressing the problem of graffiti through its Graffiti Management Policy, which provides a best-practice framework for Eradication, Education, Engagement and Enforcement. 


Graffiti on Council assets and property is removed as quickly as possible, in accordance with the prioritising procedure.  Council works in partnership with the Queensland Police Service and public utility suppliers (eg, Ergon Energy, Australia Post etc) to reduce graffiti and provide information about incidences of vandalism. 


Information on how to prevent, report and remove graffiti is provided to the community. Promotion of activities that provide legitimate alternatives to illegal graffiti and opportunities for self-expression, such as legal urban art and community murals.


Council's Tanks Arts Centre Mural Crew delivers community art projects and training for youth interested in becoming professional artsworkers.  Schools and community groups work with Council to "adopt a spot" for community mural projects.  Urban art spaces will be provided on nominated areas or walls for the creation of legitimate urban art works (eg, tagging, aerosol art etc).   Council actively supports volunteer groups in the Cairns region that engage in graffiti identification, reporting and removal.


Photographic evidence of graffiti on Council assets and property is captured and reported to QPS for inclusion in the Tag Identification Database.  Council's Community Safety Officer participates in Youth Justice Conferencing with graffiti offenders.

Last updated: 16 June 2020