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?

  • Peter Petrass
    signed 2018-10-08 19:24:15 +1100
    The top end of town does not own our national icons, all of the people of Australia do and we say no ads.
  • Brett Weeden
    signed 2018-10-08 19:23:30 +1100
  • Sharon Haworth
    signed 2018-10-08 19:18:20 +1100
  • Liam isle
    signed 2018-10-08 19:17:33 +1100
  • Sandy Eager
    signed 2018-10-08 19:17:26 +1100
  • Robert Haase
    signed 2018-10-08 19:16:01 +1100
  • Karey Harrison
    signed 2018-10-08 19:14:39 +1100
  • Cherie Brandon
    signed 2018-10-08 19:11:41 +1100
  • Kerrie Rostas
    signed 2018-10-08 19:10:30 +1100
  • Michelle Bartlett
    signed 2018-10-08 19:09:27 +1100
  • Stephen Tardrew
    signed 2018-10-08 19:08:06 +1100
  • Benson Koschinski
    signed 2018-10-08 19:06:41 +1100
    Benson Koschinski
  • Elizabeth Hatcher
    signed 2018-10-08 19:04:27 +1100
  • Niki Bullas
    signed 2018-10-08 19:03:19 +1100
  • David and Vivien Street
    signed 2018-10-08 19:02:48 +1100
  • Jack Heggen
    signed 2018-10-08 19:02:06 +1100
  • Chris Furse
    signed 2018-10-08 19:01:34 +1100
    This should not happen. The Sydney Opera House is one of the 7 man made wonders of the world. It does not deserve CRASS OPPORTUNISM!!
  • Rebecca Kelly
    signed 2018-10-08 19:00:58 +1100
    To use the Opera house in this manner is disgraceful
  • Sally Corvini
    signed 2018-10-08 18:59:35 +1100
    An absolute disgrace. I’m furious about this decision to allow advertising on the opera house.
  • Natalie Shaw
    signed 2018-10-08 18:58:49 +1100
  • Cath O'Connor
    signed 2018-10-08 18:57:51 +1100
    Cathleen O’Connor
  • Emma Wannell
    signed 2018-10-08 18:49:13 +1100
  • Sharon Turner
    signed 2018-10-08 18:47:39 +1100
    Sharon Turner
  • Tim R-Smith
    signed 2018-10-08 18:46:33 +1100
  • Sam Cole
    signed 2018-10-08 18:44:11 +1100
  • Karen Crowe
    signed 2018-10-08 18:44:00 +1100
  • Julien Klettenberg
    @jklettenberg72 tweeted link to this page. 2018-10-08 18:33:56 +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=287611
  • Julien Klettenberg
    signed 2018-10-08 18:33:35 +1100
  • Julia Charles
    signed 2018-10-08 18:29:00 +1100