Wollongong City Council launched its new fleet of worksite caravan murals on Friday in hope it will reduce graffiti attacks across the Illawarra.

The caravans, which operate as mobile offices for council workers, are prone to graffiti attacks because of their large and clean walls. Council hopes the murals, painted by community artists, will reduce the vandalism.

“It’s a win-win. We get to showcase community art and deter graffiti on the council caravans. The council saves and we have mobile art,” Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

The mural program was first trialled on council’s previous fleet of vans in 2004. Council said the murals helped save it thousands of dollars because graffiti-removal costs were cut.

Artist Jyi Westaway painted the mural on the first of the new fleet. He said the program’s benefits can be measured in more than dollars.

“This is public art, art in the community,” Westaway said.

“It’s a lovely area, but it can be made look horrible by vandalism, and that is where we come in.”

Westaway, who paints under the name Jyiro, was commissioned to paint caravans, and was given freedom to choose what he painted; keeping in mind it would be displayed across the Illawarra.

Wollongong City Council will roll out seven more painted mural caravans over the next nine months, replacing the older vans that have been in service for more than 10 years. Council will soon encourage artists to apply to paint the remaining six vans, with Westaway’s complete and another artist booked to paint one next week, 25 November, in Wollongong City Mall as part of the Wonderwalls event.