GRAFFITI along the Hume Highway in Albury is not being cleaned up because of COVID-19.
Transport for NSW acting south west director Jonathan Tasker said the deletion of illegal daubings was on hold along the border.
"Currently, due to border restrictions, graffiti removal is not being carried out in border control areas, however this will resume when border restrictions are lifted," Mr Tasker said.
The shelving of graffiti elimination has annoyed Albury councillors.
"I think it's very disappointing, I think perhaps it's a cop-out," David Thurley said.
Murray King said: "I can't see how COVID-19 would have an impact whatsoever.
"All they have to do is ring a local contractor and get them to do it."
Albury MP Justin Clancy said he would take up the matter with Transport for NSW.
"I'll be pushing to make sure that is reviewed," Mr Clancy said.
Mr Tasker's revelation followed Cr Thurley raising concerns about the promptness of Transport for NSW and the Australian Rail Track Corporation in removing graffiti around Albury.
He noted the Albury Council had a policy of removing tags within 24 hours of them appearing but the transport bodies failed to match it.
"ARTC and Transport for NSW...don't seem to be committed enough to this plan," Cr Clancy told this week's council meeting about the city's blueprint to fight graffiti.
Mr Tasker said in 2019-20 Transport for NSW "spent almost $40,000 covering or removing illegal graffiti in the southern Hume area".
"This does not include the cost to replace directional and road safety signage where graffiti cannot be removed," he added.
Mr Tasker said regular inspections were done to identify graffiti.
An ARTC spokesman said the organisation was "ready and willing" to work with the council in relation to its updated graffiti control plan.
"We have worked with council's contractor to remove graffiti off the East Street bridge in June 2020, and have previously removed graffiti off buildings around the Albury railway station precinct," he said.
"Inspections to identify graffiti are undertaken, however the process to remove graffiti can sometimes be delayed due to the requirements of entering the rail corridor in a safe manner."
The council has spent more than $1 million of ratepayers' money in the past decade to tackle graffiti, with $140,913 outlaid in the last financial year.
The burden of such vandalism was debated by council as it this week received a draft graffiti management plan for 2021-25 from staff.
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The cost of removing graffiti from 2010-15 was $467,556 and then it reached $530,923 over 2016-20.
Cr Thurley said it was wasted money and more citizens needed to be willing to report tags and scrawls.
"We really have to get better at looking after our own neighbourhoods and calling out those who wish to destroy it or vandalise it," Cr Thurley said.
Mayor Kevin Mack echoed his sentiment.
"We need to go hard on this," Cr Mack said, adding offenders' energies needed to be "devoted to quality street art".
Councillor Henk van de Ven said he was "horrified" that $10 million was earmarked to create a compound to prevent V/Line trains being defaced at Albury train station while resting overnight.
"I just think that that's a really sad place for us to be in, when we have to spend that sort of money to protect public assets," Cr van de Ven said.
Cr King said there had been graffiti on the side wall of the Westpac bank branch at Lavington that had not been cleaned since 2016.
However, The Border Mail was told that was not the same daub and the latest scrawls were cleaned up this week after Westpac was alerted to Cr King's comments at Monday night's council meeting.
Vandals have been climbing on to the roof of a neighbouring real estate agency to spraypaint the bank wall.