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?

  • Vacy Vlazna
    signed 2018-10-08 18:20:30 +1100
    The Opera House is a NATIONAL cultural site
  • Alexander Lau
    signed 2018-10-08 18:20:18 +1100
  • Alistair Bain
    signed 2018-10-08 18:20:04 +1100
  • Anne Swan
    signed 2018-10-08 18:15:19 +1100
  • Scott Thomson
    signed 2018-10-08 18:08:58 +1100
  • Paul Aitken
    signed 2018-10-08 18:07:41 +1100
    Paul Aitken
  • Daniel Kirkwood
    signed 2018-10-08 18:07:40 +1100
  • Ben Taylor
    signed 2018-10-08 18:07:05 +1100
  • Mary-Jayne House
    signed 2018-10-08 18:06:26 +1100
  • Thomas Suters
    signed 2018-10-08 18:05:15 +1100
    In the last year, the Liberal Party has broken laws dozens of times all for own self interest. And they keep calling out to everyone else to not break The Rule of Law. Hypocrisy at its best.
  • Marion Ferguson
    signed 2018-10-08 18:01:19 +1100
    Promoting gambling is not in the best interests of the people of Australia.
  • Lois Hohenfels
    signed 2018-10-08 18:01:01 +1100
    Lois Hohenfels
  • Helen Hall
    signed 2018-10-08 17:57:24 +1100
  • Heather Mackieson
    signed 2018-10-08 17:55:03 +1100
    The Opera House is not a billboard for advertisments it is a Heritage Listed Building
  • Robert Hook
    signed 2018-10-08 17:54:28 +1100
    Crass commercialism of an iconic national heritage sight, by the few for the few.
  • Andrew Lambkin
    signed 2018-10-08 17:49:45 +1100
  • Brendan Starkey
    signed 2018-10-08 17:49:11 +1100
  • Penelope Maxwell
    signed 2018-10-08 17:49:09 +1100
  • Yolanda Marshall
    signed 2018-10-08 17:48:03 +1100
  • Pete Malone
    signed 2018-10-08 17:47:26 +1100
  • Owen M
    signed 2018-10-08 17:45:31 +1100
  • Tayla Avery
    signed 2018-10-08 17:45:11 +1100
  • Dennis Stanton
    @bigdaddyd2008 tweeted link to this page. 2018-10-08 17:45:07 +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=194505
  • Andrew Denton
    signed 2018-10-08 17:45:01 +1100
  • Stephen Milne
    signed 2018-10-08 17:44:50 +1100
  • Jan Drinkwater
    signed 2018-10-08 17:44:07 +1100
    Please do not denigrate the Sydney Opera House by using it to promote a horse race and gambling. A horse race is a commercial venture not a cultural event
  • Heidi Ruckriegel
    signed 2018-10-08 17:44:01 +1100
    Heidi Ruckriegel
  • John Chadderton
    signed 2018-10-08 17:41:48 +1100
    National icons, like the Sydney Opera House, must be excluded from crass commercialism which desecrates not only the icons but also the values which underpin them.
  • Christopher McGrigor
    signed 2018-10-08 17:38:49 +1100