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?

  • Sarah Sannen
    signed 2018-10-09 15:35:46 +1100
  • Melanie Smith
    signed 2018-10-09 15:26:46 +1100
  • Lorraine Clark
    signed 2018-10-09 15:20:30 +1100
    The Opera House is not a billboard, it’s one of the most famous buildings on the world.

    It would look crass, and tarty! To deface it with advertisements! No way!!
  • Kate Cranney
    signed 2018-10-09 15:15:15 +1100
  • Matthew Woodhead
    signed 2018-10-09 15:02:46 +1100
  • Robert Tilley
    signed 2018-10-09 15:02:04 +1100
  • Karla Hansford
    signed 2018-10-09 14:52:14 +1100
  • Nicole Rowan
    signed 2018-10-09 14:49:02 +1100
  • Virginia Wise
    signed 2018-10-09 14:48:09 +1100
  • Peter Cleary
    signed 2018-10-09 14:37:05 +1100
  • Will Sutton
    signed 2018-10-09 14:31:57 +1100
    William Sutton
  • Michelle Goldsmith
    signed 2018-10-09 14:28:59 +1100
  • Marion Groves
    signed 2018-10-09 14:22:46 +1100
  • Di McGee
    signed 2018-10-09 14:16:39 +1100
    Dianne McGee
  • Susan Deer
    signed 2018-10-09 14:14:04 +1100
    Too disgusting to even think how to express what I think.. So wrong!
  • Jenny O'Mara
    signed 2018-10-09 14:13:15 +1100
  • Carmel Lovelock
    signed 2018-10-09 14:09:26 +1100
    A deplorable knee jerk tasteless decision in response to a serial BULLY & without the proper consideration given to this international ICONs continued H.Listed status, when reduced to the"biggest billboard in Sydney" to promote gambling.!! Despicable.!
  • Selina McGrath
    signed 2018-10-09 13:55:49 +1100
  • Diana Simpkins
    signed 2018-10-09 13:54:07 +1100
  • Mark Chapman
    signed 2018-10-09 13:49:17 +1100
  • John Scobie
    signed 2018-10-09 13:12:04 +1100
    The disregard for public integrity that both major parties in NSW have just displayed is staggering.
  • Jane Touzeau
    signed 2018-10-09 13:08:14 +1100
    Corporate Australia represents self-interest. Government is meant to represent public interest.
  • Helen Kane
    signed 2018-10-09 13:05:19 +1100
  • Bronwen Algate
    signed 2018-10-09 12:57:06 +1100
  • Joanne McNeill
    signed 2018-10-09 12:57:06 +1100
  • Catherine Baker
    signed 2018-10-09 12:47:05 +1100
  • Jennifer Gow
    signed 2018-10-09 12:32:48 +1100
    Using the opera house to promote gambling is utterly obnoxious
  • Pamela Farmer
    signed 2018-10-09 12:31:51 +1100
  • Svetlana Milojkovic
    signed 2018-10-09 12:31:17 +1100
  • Bronte Moses
    signed 2018-10-09 12:28:38 +1100