From New York to Horsham: comedian Dan Ilic is on a climate crusade

BILLBOARD: The satirical billboard promises Australia will reach net zero emissions within the next 279 years. Picture: MATT HUGHES
BILLBOARD: The satirical billboard promises Australia will reach net zero emissions within the next 279 years. Picture: MATT HUGHES

If you looked up crossing Roberts Avenue this week, something different might have caught your eye.

Between a vaccination call to arms and various other advertisements, the electronic billboard on the corner of Firebrace and Roberts might have flickered, and a sign appeared.

Looking much like an off-brand tourism campaign, the sign read: Australia Net Zero by 2300!

It is just the latest in a series of satirical billboards set up in a campaign by comedian Dan Ilic to shame climate inaction on the part of the Australian government.

In Victoria, they've appeared in Hawthorn, Torquay - and now Horsham - which Mr Ilic targeted for being in the key Nationals electorate of Mallee.

Mr Ilic said Horsham was explicitly chosen to be part of the campaign due in part to its location and presence in a Nationals stronghold.

"Out of all the places you can stop for a bathroom break between Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne comedy festival - nothing beats Horsham," the comedian told the Mail-Times.

"It's also one of the most important food production areas in the country - and food producers have been left out of the Nationals' conversation around climate change.

"The tiny billboard is a reminder to The Nationals that they're letting their real constituents down."

Mr Ilic is no stranger to the Australian public. The presenter, comedian and filmmaker, garnered fans during his time with cult sketch comedy television show The Ronnie Johns Half Hour, and more recently, his podcast A Rational Fear.

In October, Mr Ilic's campaign gained international media attention when he raised money to put up a billboard at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, which kicks off on November 1.

The board will remain up for the two-week duration of the talks.

However, the support Mr Ilic received far exceeded expectations, and soon after, a billboard appeared in the tourist mecca of New York City - Times Square.

At the cost of $16,000 for ten minutes on screen, the sign wasn't cheap, but it was effective.

After refusing to confirm whether or not he would appear at the summit Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced on October 15 that he would indeed be attending.

Since the New York billboard, Mr Ilic has raised over $200,000 through a campaign on IndieGoGo called 'Jokekeeper', and billboards have begun to crop up all over the place.

Mr Ilic said the campaign wouldn't be slowing down any time soon as he eyes a billboard in Barnaby Joyce's New England electorate.

This story The reason this rural town is listed beside New York in climate campaign first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.