Urgent: Opera House ads may break heritage laws!

BREAKING: Australia Institute research shows using the Sydney Opera House for advertising may break national heritage laws.[1]

"The Opera House is not a billboard, it is a national and world-heritage listed icon."
- Ben Oquist, Executive Director, The Australia Institute.

The repeated nature of the use of the Opera House sails to project night-time images that are potentially inconsistent with the design of the building or its values requires the matter to be referred to the Federal Environment Department under s68 of the EPBC Act, according to analysis by The Australia Institute.

The Sydney Opera House has been on the National Heritage List since 6th July 2005. Heritage listing exists for a reason – to constrain what activities can be taken that might affect a Heritage site’s values. The NSW Premier and the Federal Environment Minister should be ensuring that the law is upheld.

The Government’s own State of the Environment report found that since 2011, the public-sector resources allocated for heritage conservation and management have remained steady or declined and that resources for assessing heritage protection have declined.

Join our call to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price demanding that all legal requirements under Commonwealth environmental law are met before any future visual promotion, including for The Everest horse race, are displayed on the Opera House sails.


[1] The Sydney Opera House was included on the National Heritage List on 6th July 2005, on the basis of satisfying six of the listing criteria, including:

  • The place's importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics valued by a community or cultural group – where the listing statement remarks: ‘the sculptural, billowing sail-like roof shells provide a visual link to and artistic representation of the yacht scattered harbour waters. The ceramic white tiles of the roof further add to this relationship and provide a dramatic contrast with the blue waters of the harbour. The building with its strongly curved design emphasis is juxtaposed with the nearby Sydney Harbour Bridge which itself has a strongly emphasized curvature, and this visual relationship is a further element of the place’s aesthetic appeal. The place’s dramatic aesthetic appeal is enhanced by subtle floodlighting on the white roof shells at night


  • The place's strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group.

Australia Institute research shows repeatedly using the Sydney Opera House for advertising may break national heritage laws

Dear Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Environment Minister Melissa Price --

The Opera House is not a billboard, it is a national and international heritage-listed icon.

Using the Opera House for advertising may break national heritage laws.

You must ensure future visual promotions displayed on the Opera House sails meet ALL legal requirements under Commonwealth environmental law.

Will you sign?

  • Kevin Hill
    signed 2020-06-06 17:04:23 +1000
  • William Nicholls
    signed 2020-04-11 22:19:27 +1000
  • Lisa Corsi
    signed 2020-04-09 17:19:26 +1000
  • Linda Shaw
    signed 2020-01-03 11:02:25 +1100
  • kathryn lai
    signed 2020-01-03 09:23:30 +1100
  • Peter Delgado
    signed 2019-12-18 14:40:16 +1100
  • Tolga Yilmaz
    signed 2019-11-16 10:00:48 +1100
  • Trevor Naughton
    signed 2019-11-07 08:33:55 +1100
    Let A. Jones & NSW Racing pay for a Billboard.
  • darren clark
    signed 2019-08-29 13:53:05 +1000
  • Peter Davies
    signed 2019-08-04 17:56:27 +1000
  • Nathan Lyne
    signed 2019-05-16 16:41:11 +1000
  • Trevor Shinnick
    signed 2019-02-24 12:05:32 +1100
  • Biannca Pace
    signed 2018-10-16 19:06:28 +1100
  • Dr Heinz-Joachim Muller
    signed 2018-10-16 01:16:01 +1100
  • Corey Willis
    signed 2018-10-11 19:29:24 +1100
  • dorothee fouchard
    signed 2018-10-11 17:47:47 +1100
    I am against using the Opera House for advertising.
  • David Everett
    signed 2018-10-10 15:39:36 +1100
  • Wen Jun Toe
    signed 2018-10-10 11:35:23 +1100
  • Ellen Eggers
    signed 2018-10-10 11:01:18 +1100
  • Charmaine Follett
    signed 2018-10-10 10:03:35 +1100
  • Paul Burns
    signed 2018-10-10 09:40:32 +1100
  • Lana Burmester
    signed 2018-10-10 09:40:00 +1100
    Good work Australia Institute to add Reardon and thoughtful argument to the debate. A civilised approach compared to shouting and threatening people doing their job honestly and with integrity.
  • Richard Ford
    signed 2018-10-10 08:11:35 +1100
    Richard Ford
  • Trudi Shearer
    signed 2018-10-10 08:04:13 +1100
  • Terry Frewin
    signed 2018-10-10 06:31:00 +1100
  • James McInerney
    signed 2018-10-10 01:37:27 +1100
    This is a disgraceful episode that is symptomatic of the political/financial corruption that is enriching those in power and making the rest of us worse off in every way, not just financially, but culturally as well.
  • Stephen Ramsey
    signed 2018-10-09 23:20:41 +1100
  • William Bray
    signed 2018-10-09 23:20:14 +1100
  • Melanie Leemon
    signed 2018-10-09 23:13:19 +1100