A giant Nazi swastika burned in the grass of a community football pitch is still visible despite the council knowing about the anti-Semitic symbol for more than a month.
The ‘horrifying’ act of vandalism was spotted by the grandson of Holocaust survivors during a helicopter flight over the city of Melbourne.
Chemicals were used to draw the symbol of hate into the grass of the Morrison reservation in the north eastern suburb of the city of Mt Evelyn.
The grandson of a Holocaust survivor spotted the ‘horrifying’ anti-Semitic symbol at Morrison Reserve (pictured) in Melbourne’s northeast during a helicopter flight
The swastika, visible from the ground like the air, has poisoned and discolored the pitch where youth soccer teams frequently train and play.
“My grandfather is the only survivor of his family,” said the man who spotted him Nine News.
“To see it on this kind of scale is quite horrifying.
‘It’s worrying, how does something like this happen? How is there no action, how is there no immediate action?
Locals who visit the park said they noticed grass discoloration more than a month ago, but many didn’t notice what the lines were drawing.
Lilydale Eagles Soccer Club met with the local council in early March after informing the council of the anti-Semitic symbol.
Yarra Ranges Council has informed the football club that ‘actions like these are becoming more and more frequent’ in the council district.
The council said removing the highly offensive act of vandalism ‘will have a cost’ to ratepayers and opted to cover the dead grass with seed as other options would have put the pitch out of action for eight weeks .
Vandals used chemicals to burn and discolor the grass in the Mt Evelyn field. The Yarra Ranges Council were made aware of the symbol in early March and have since covered the dead grass with seed, as other options would render the land inactive for eight weeks.
Victoria is set to become the first Australian state or territory to ban the public display of Nazi symbols.
The proposed laws, which are expected to be introduced in the first half of 2022 with bipartisan support, will ban the display of swastikas and other hate symbols in public spaces.
NSW followed suit by preparing laws banning the waving of a Nazi flag or the display of memorabilia bearing swastikas.
New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman said the bill would “provide an additional safeguard to existing protections in New South Wales against defamatory conduct”.
An NSW parliamentary inquiry in February unanimously recommended a ban on the public display of Nazi symbols.
NSW and Victoria have proposed laws to ban the public display of Nazi symbols. A man was spotted wearing a Nazi swastika armband (pictured above) at a Melbourne fresh produce market in February
The Antipodean Resistance (pictured), a Melbourne-based group of radicalized neo-Nazis, is just one of many far-right groups that have sprouted across Australia
Labor MP Walt Secord, who introduced a bill and campaigned for two years on the issue, welcomed the attorney general’s plan
“Unfortunately, we are seeing an upsurge in far-right activity in Australia and overseas. Simply put, I want to see the public display of Nazi symbols banned in New South Wales,” he said.
Fears that right-wing groups out of Melbourne could attempt a Capitol Hill-style riot are growing amid an escalation in right-wing activity.
Far-right anti-immigration groups have sprung up across Australia, with neo-Nazis among their supporters in Melbourne.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization has reported an increase in sightings of neo-Nazi groups gathering en masse in the country of Victoria.
Professor Barton said ASIO was busier than ever dealing with terrorist threats from right-wing groups.
“The jobs they work on that involve far-right groups four years ago were 10-15%. Now it’s 30-40%. So it’s tripled, that’s basically what they say,” he said.
While the world has seen an overall increase in neo-Nazi activity over the past 10 years, Professor Barton says Melbourne has surprised experts with its shift to the far right.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said he was the victim of “lewd” vandalism after one of his campaign corflutes was tagged with a swastika.
The Jewish MP for Kooyong shared a photo of a vandalized election poster in early April.
“It doesn’t matter which political group the recipient is, that’s just not the case. Our community deserves better,” he said.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Jewish lobby group Anti-Defamation Commission, said the horrific increase in neo-Nazi vandalism will soon make Melbourne the “swastika capital of Australia”.
He said the latest crime “is a reminder that we must legislate the law against public displays of the Nazi swastika as quickly as possible.”
Josh Frydenberg shared a photo of one of his corflutes where a swastika was tagged on his corflute in early April