protests are hurting the small businesses

How Melbourne’s lockdown protests are hurting the small businesses

by Anna Bailey, onGraffiti CoatingGraffiti RemovalNews , September 26, 2021

Selfish anti-lockdown protesters facilitated Melbourne's graffiti vandals to attack private property, hurting small business.

Melbourne is no stranger to graffiti vandalism or anti-lockdown protests. Each anti-lockdown protest, hundreds and more recently, thousands of people descend upon Melbourne’s CBD armed with spray paint, among other things. These protests cause major disruptions to public transport networks and cost the city millions as police operations grow larger in order to manage them. Unfortunately, these protests and the graffiti vandalism that is born from them is harming already struggling businesses.

The City of Melbourne spends typically almost $1 million on graffiti removal annually and removes around 50,000 square metres of graffiti from private and public spaces every year. This is paid for by taxpayers. 

During Melbourne’s second wave last year, there was a spike in graffiti vandalism. In January 2021,  the Victorian government, in conjunction with the City of Melbourne, announced a six-month graffiti cleaning blitz in order to combat the damage caused by graffiti taggers. However, this occurred before Melbourne’s fourth, fifth and sixth lockdowns.

Over the past week, the protesters spread into Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs of Richmond, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Northcote and South Yarra, in addition to the CBD.  

Repeated and prolonged snap lockdowns have resulted in more anti-lockdown protests, occurring at shorter intervals each time. Unfortunately, this means that businesses in areas such as the CBD, where most anti-lockdown protests take place, are being affected yet again by graffiti vandalism. As soon as one piece of graffiti vandalism is removed, another appears. 

Protests are hurting small businesses with tagging and vandalism

How graffiti is hurting small businesses

Businesses and private property owners can arrange to have local councils remove graffiti vandalism from their property.

However, the increase in graffiti vandalism has created a backlog of graffiti that needs to be removed and has put pressure on local councils, adding more problems for small business owners.

Firstly, the longer graffiti stays on a building, the harder it is to remove. If a graffiti tag has been on a property for a prolonged time, more aggressive chemicals may be required to remove it. This can create additional damage to the exterior of the property.

Once a business has been vandalised with graffiti, the chances of being vandalised again increase. This means that failing to remove graffiti quickly can end up costing small businesses more if they leave the graffiti in place. Once a tagger has vandalised a property, other taggers will do the same and a small business can end up with a large graffiti wall very quickly. The bigger the piece of graffiti, and the longer it is there, the more it costs to remove.

Many small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD have been under financial pressure for prolonged periods as a result of lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions. Graffiti tagging is also adding to that financial pressure.

If a small business is located in an area with a high level of graffiti vandalism, prospective customers may be discouraged from visiting. This is because areas with high levels of graffiti vandalism are often associated as areas with a large gang presence and, therefore, unsafe to visit.

Graffiti vandalism has become a medium for hate speech and misinformation during Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protests. An increasing number of attendees of anti-lockdown protesters are associated with far-right groups or are Neo-Nazi organisations.

Much of the recent graffiti that has appeared in the city has targeted specific ethnic and cultural groups, most notably the Jewish community.  The prevalence of graffiti containing hate speech can prevent people from visiting areas of the city for fear of being attacked. This means small businesses are losing out on valuable income.

Hate fueled graffiti vandalism paired with long council wait times means that more and more businesses are being forced to cover the cost of removing graffiti themselves. This places increasing financial pressure on already struggling businesses.  To bring Melbourne’s CBD back to life and encourage people to visit the CBD, combating graffiti vandalism is essential.

Racist coronavirus graffiti in Melbourne

How can Ablate Help?

Ablate Graffiti Removal is a small business that wants to help small businesses recover from graffiti vandalism. We offer a wide range of services at competitive prices that can help your business deal with graffiti vandalism.

Anti Graffiti Coating:

Over the years, we have seen small businesses time and time again fall victim to repeated graffiti tagging. It can be incredibly disheartening and, at times, exhausting. Our anti-graffiti coating service adds a protective layer to your business and creates an invisible barrier that protects your business from graffiti vandalism. These coatings can be applied on brick, concrete, billboards and wood and many other surfaces.

Covering your business in an anti-graffiti coating means that, if graffiti vandals target your business, you will be able to wipe the graffiti off without a trace with soap and water.

Graffiti Removal:

If graffiti taggers target your business, our rapid response graffiti removal service is here to make sure your business looks exactly like it did before it was targeted. We use specialised high-performance equipment and deploy specialised technicians to each job we attend.

We only use chemicals when we absolutely have to and use eco-friendly products whenever possible. We offer emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at competitive prices to help you get back to business as quickly as possible.

Pressure Washing Services:

As business owners, we understand how important it is to have a business that you take pride in. The exterior of your building is what first draws customers to your business.

Our pressure washing service is a cost-effective way to keep your business looking polished and inviting. As Melbourne slowly etches towards reopening and small businesses look to welcome visitors through their doors, this service is a must for any business reopening.


Melbourne is a vibrant, dynamic city and we love it. Unfortunately, anti-lockdown protests have taken their toll on the city and the businesses that make it a wonderful place to live in. At Ablate, we want to do our bit to create a clean, vibrant and healthy city.

We take pride in our city and want to help this city and its businesses reach their full potential. We do this by removing unwanted and graffiti as quickly as possible. To book one of our services, head to our website and request a quote. We can’t wait to help your business get back on its feet.