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?

  • Lindy Sparrow
    signed 2018-10-08 21:58:49 +1100
  • Ian Milliss
    signed 2018-10-08 21:58:12 +1100
  • Marguerite Carrington
    signed 2018-10-08 21:57:08 +1100
  • Geoff Skinner
    signed 2018-10-08 21:55:20 +1100
  • Jacqueline Schneider
    signed 2018-10-08 21:51:25 +1100
  • Sharon Hunter
    signed 2018-10-08 21:50:25 +1100
  • Yvonne Harmer
    signed 2018-10-08 21:49:00 +1100
  • Madelaine Wallace
    signed 2018-10-08 21:47:40 +1100
  • Lynette Gelsomino
    signed 2018-10-08 21:43:58 +1100
  • Anne Cronin
    signed 2018-10-08 21:40:19 +1100
  • Emma Meredith
    signed 2018-10-08 21:39:32 +1100
  • Girish Gopalakrishnan
    signed 2018-10-08 21:39:06 +1100
    Girish Gopalakrishnan
  • Karen Joynes
    signed 2018-10-08 21:37:11 +1100
    Ban all sports promotions on the Opera House
  • Samantha Marsh
    signed 2018-10-08 21:36:53 +1100
  • Corey Rusu
    signed 2018-10-08 21:36:31 +1100
  • Emilia Yap
    signed 2018-10-08 21:35:51 +1100
  • Phoenix Van Dyke
    signed 2018-10-08 21:34:53 +1100
  • Tim Wilson
    signed 2018-10-08 21:34:42 +1100
    Gambling is for losers – there are already enough losers running the country let’s not create any more.
  • Wendy McDonald
    signed 2018-10-08 21:34:28 +1100
  • Elaine McAlister
    signed 2018-10-08 21:32:25 +1100
  • Damien Wise
    signed 2018-10-08 21:27:52 +1100
  • Gail Malone
    signed 2018-10-08 21:25:53 +1100
  • Gretchen Williams
    signed 2018-10-08 21:24:50 +1100
  • Kerry Anderson
    signed 2018-10-08 21:21:39 +1100
  • Ellen Leslie
    signed 2018-10-08 21:17:01 +1100
  • Just Davo
    @hitinman tweeted link to this page. 2018-10-08 21:14:14 +1100
    Ads on the Opera House sails may breach heritage laws. The Sydney Opera House is a national and international heritage listed icon, not a billboard! Sign the open letter: https://nb.tai.org.au/operahouse_epbc?recruiter_id=274179
  • David Stakes
    signed 2018-10-08 21:13:48 +1100
    David Stakes
  • Brooke Nickel
    signed 2018-10-08 21:09:31 +1100
  • Kaye Laidlaw
    signed 2018-10-08 21:08:11 +1100
  • Alison’ Fox
    signed 2018-10-08 21:07:35 +1100