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?

  • Mike Warburton
    signed 2018-10-08 20:11:41 +1100
  • Hania Walczowska
    signed 2018-10-08 20:08:29 +1100
  • Jeffrey Gismondo
    signed 2018-10-08 20:06:06 +1100
    I disagree with this as the Sydney Opera House looks like complete shit with all those advertisements. Besides the point that it is practically defacing a national icon one most if not all Australians admire.
  • Murray Hopkins
    signed 2018-10-08 20:06:02 +1100
    Enough of the take over of public resources. It is the people’s house, not Racing NSW.
  • Andrew Taylor
    signed 2018-10-08 20:01:33 +1100
  • Alex Moors
    signed 2018-10-08 19:57:23 +1100
    Alex Moors
  • Madeleine Scully
    signed 2018-10-08 19:55:43 +1100
  • William Charles
    signed 2018-10-08 19:55:41 +1100
    William Charles
  • Liz Rummery
    signed 2018-10-08 19:55:29 +1100
  • Frances Coombe
    signed 2018-10-08 19:54:16 +1100
  • Rose Spear
    signed 2018-10-08 19:53:38 +1100
  • Rowan Holmes
    signed 2018-10-08 19:53:23 +1100
    Contrary to Scott Morrison’s views, the Opera House is not a billboard and should not be used for advertising commercial events. Still less, if anything, should it be used to advertise gambling events. It is absolutely outrageous that Alan Jones should be permitted to sway policy in NSW, and particularly environmental policy. His record of climate change denial is long and shameful – now a national icon is to be abuse to spruik a horse race in which his business partners have a stake! Where will it end? Beer and underwear ads? As a NSW resident, I call on Ms Berejiklian to publicly repudiate both this misguided policy – in which an asset we all own becomes a billboard for the few – and her shameful genuflection to the hateful dinosaur that is Alan Jones.
  • Ailish Lydon
    signed 2018-10-08 19:53:15 +1100
  • veronica Martin
    signed 2018-10-08 19:51:27 +1100
  • Zack McBride
    signed 2018-10-08 19:51:18 +1100
  • Molly Johnson
    signed 2018-10-08 19:50:17 +1100
  • Darrin Morgan
    signed 2018-10-08 19:49:50 +1100
    This Opera House is not a billboard for such vulgar events.
  • Brad Thompson
    signed 2018-10-08 19:48:30 +1100
  • Marlene Sarroff
    signed 2018-10-08 19:48:28 +1100
  • Karen Joseph
    signed 2018-10-08 19:48:17 +1100
  • Ray Cockram
    signed 2018-10-08 19:46:22 +1100
  • Susan Davy
    signed 2018-10-08 19:39:13 +1100
  • Greg Jones
    signed 2018-10-08 19:37:21 +1100
  • June Lennie
    signed 2018-10-08 19:32:24 +1100
  • Conor O'Dowd
    signed 2018-10-08 19:31:53 +1100
  • Anita Triado
    signed 2018-10-08 19:30:24 +1100
  • Deb Hedges
    signed 2018-10-08 19:28:38 +1100
  • David Sykes
    signed 2018-10-08 19:27:40 +1100
  • Henry Lepatan
    signed 2018-10-08 19:27:24 +1100
  • sharon tupper
    signed 2018-10-08 19:25:35 +1100