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?

  • Martin Bouma
    signed 2018-10-08 21:06:10 +1100
  • Craig Browne
    signed 2018-10-08 21:04:23 +1100
  • David Coombe
    signed 2018-10-08 20:54:07 +1100
  • James C Ward
    signed 2018-10-08 20:52:28 +1100
  • Morgan Reeder
    signed 2018-10-08 20:52:12 +1100
  • Ana Milosevic
    @AnaMilosevic7 tweeted link to this page. 2018-10-08 20:50:37 +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=201107
  • Mary Beech
    signed 2018-10-08 20:48:07 +1100
    It promotes gambling, therefore, family disfuntion and potentially family violence and suicide.

    Disgusting idea for an Australian icon.

    Are they trying to out pip the Melbourne Cup up there in Sydney.
  • Edgar Grabis
    signed 2018-10-08 20:43:47 +1100
    Edgar Grabis
  • Anita Cole
    signed 2018-10-08 20:43:16 +1100
  • Pamela Fioretti
    signed 2018-10-08 20:42:51 +1100
    The Opera House should emphatically NOT be treated as an advertising billboard.
  • Geoff Thompson
    signed 2018-10-08 20:42:22 +1100
  • Danielle Fullerton
    signed 2018-10-08 20:39:33 +1100
  • Cara Plum
    signed 2018-10-08 20:39:21 +1100
  • Melanie Toyer
    signed 2018-10-08 20:38:06 +1100
  • Douglas Murray
    signed 2018-10-08 20:34:52 +1100
  • Anne Wood
    signed 2018-10-08 20:32:07 +1100
  • Peter Balmer
    signed 2018-10-08 20:29:25 +1100
  • Chantal Kelly
    signed 2018-10-08 20:24:20 +1100
  • robyn johnson
    signed 2018-10-08 20:24:08 +1100
  • Mosala Cohn
    signed 2018-10-08 20:23:20 +1100
  • Chris Shakes
    signed 2018-10-08 20:20:04 +1100
    I guess ScoMo can be a bit of a numpty at times….
  • John Simpson
    signed 2018-10-08 20:19:50 +1100
  • Leanne Perrins
    signed 2018-10-08 20:18:04 +1100
  • Sharon Byard
    signed 2018-10-08 20:17:29 +1100
  • Kiri Joyce-Griggs
    signed 2018-10-08 20:14:42 +1100
  • Brendan O'Flynn
    signed 2018-10-08 20:14:22 +1100
  • Jeremy Mawson
    signed 2018-10-08 20:13:24 +1100
    Jeremy Mawson