A GIANT rainbow flag has been raised in Sydney’s Taylor Square, flying six storeys above Oxford St to honour the importance of the area’s LGBTI community.

The 6.4m by 3.2m flag, which was erected quietly earlier today, is a precursor to the installation of permanent artwork in the area in 2018, in time for the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

When the DA was submitted, it was expected to cost $52,000 to erect the flag.

Sydney Council had unanimously endorsed the flag’s installation after a development application for it was submitted back in July.

Labor councillor Linda Scott and Liberal councillor Christine Forster had criticised the long time frame of the proposed 2018 artwork, and it was Forster who proposed that a rainbow flag be displayed at the heart of Sydney’s traditional LGBTI neighbourhood in the meantime.

Scott, with the support of Sydney federal Labor MP Tanya Plibersek and the DIY Rainbow movement, had also initially proposed the idea if a flag to council in May 2013 as a compromise for the loss of the rainbow crossing, but it was voted down.

Scott also told the Star Observer that the idea of the rainbow flag was also voted down by council about in 2005 when Labor councillor Verity Firth moved a motion on it.

Despite this, Scott was pleased with the outcome of the newly-installed flag and Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it would help reinforce the area’s LGBTI culture and history.

“Sydney has the largest GLBTI community in Australia and while we develop a permanent public artwork this flag will say loud and clear that Sydney is a safe, inclusive city for everyone,” she said in a statement.

“Since the removal of the much-loved rainbow crossing at Taylor Square, many people have expressed a desire for a significant artwork to celebrate Sydney’s GLBTI community.”

Moore added she wanted the artwork installation due in 2018 to “bring as much colour and joy” to Oxford St as the rainbow crossing that bisected the street around Mardi Gras season in 2013.

“It should serve as a landmark, a destination and a meeting place – something people will want to photograph and share with others,” she said.

“Most importantly, it should celebrate what has been achieved and remind us how much there is still to do.”

For the past five years, a rainbow flag has been raised above Sydney Town Hall to mark the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Pride Week in June.

Council has also stated that it has boosted its annual Mardi Gras sponsorship by almost 20 per cent, to more than $1.5 million over three years.

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