First of It’s Kind Legislation: Melbourne’s 2014 “Graffiti Art Management Plan”

Royal Parade underpass, Melbourne.

In 2014 the City of Melbourne, Australia released its “Graffiti Management Plan”—described by many as first-of-its-kind legislation because it distinguished between “unwanted graffiti applied without permission” and “street art…with the blessing of property owners.”

Here are the basics:

  • The Plan specifically defines tags and “throw-ups” as a types of street art.
  • It doesn’t discuss preservation: “Street art is ephemeral. Protection of street art is not practical.”
  • And specifically states that the city will only censor work that could “offend a reasonable person.”
  • It zones “heavily pedestrianized areas” as places where street art will be removed.
  • But it protects the street art on Union Lane, Rutledge Lane, and Hosier Lane, as designated legal street art walls.
  • It also continually funds new murals in strategically chosen areas.


Melbourne also offers a graffiti education program in all its primary and secondary schools, and facilitates a Street Art Mentoring program that teaches kids 13-25 about “the benefits of and opportunities for legal artwork.” Fifteen secondary and nine primary schools have participated in the program since it began in 2008.



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