Cr welcomes grave vandalism laws

THE proposal to jail graveyard vandals for up to seven years has been welcomed by Bundaberg Regional councillor Mary Wilkinson.

Over the weekend the state government announced it would be introducing the laws to parliament by the end of the year.

The proposed legislation will include maximum jail time of seven years, the creation of the new offence of unlawfully interfering with a grave and removing the need for prosecutors to establish an absence of consent from the grave owner.

“They need a deterrent,” she said.

“It is one of the most dreadful things a person can do. The pain and heartbreak it causes to the family is just astonishing.”

Cr Wilkinson said graveyard vandalism also came at a high cost.

“The cost to communities and families to repair those graves after such a stupid act can be very high,” she said.

Attorney-general Cameron Dick said the measures would allow police and prosecutors to take action against people who destroy graves and memorials.

“Interfering with graves or headstones is appalling and offenders who engage in this sort of insensitive and stupid behaviour will face the full force of these new laws,” he said.

Mr Dick said a recent review of law showed changes were needed to properly pursue graveyard vandals.

“The proposed amendments have been developed after detailed consideration of the issue,” Mr Dick said.

“The increased penalty reflects the seriousness with which the state government and the community regard such offending behaviour.”

Mr Dick said the new laws would mirror how communities feel places or remembrance should be respected.

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