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?

  • Eleanor Sharman
    signed 2018-10-09 10:36:02 +1100
    Eleanor Sharman
  • Gail Hamilton
    signed 2018-10-09 10:35:24 +1100
  • Karan BAjaj
    signed 2018-10-09 10:27:55 +1100
  • Jackie Campisi
    signed 2018-10-09 10:11:19 +1100
  • Daniel Cowdery
    signed 2018-10-09 10:05:37 +1100
  • Marita Linkson
    signed 2018-10-09 09:55:50 +1100
    Using the Sydney Opera House for advertising is completely at odds with the iconic and artistic nature of this beautiful heritage listed building. It’s against Sydney Opera House Policy, it’s abhorrent, embarrassing, and frankly, un-Australian.
  • Marty Davey
    signed 2018-10-09 09:55:28 +1100
    Marty Davey
  • Alex Clark
    signed 2018-10-09 09:54:33 +1100
  • Howard Moon
    signed 2018-10-09 09:51:27 +1100
  • Maureen Rose
    signed 2018-10-09 09:50:24 +1100
    Please stop this advertising on our heritage listed icon
  • Jennifer Cleary
    signed 2018-10-09 09:47:18 +1100
  • Jennifer Gregory
    signed 2018-10-09 09:46:28 +1100
    Commercialising a world heritage icon? NO!
  • Diane Forster
    signed 2018-10-09 09:43:46 +1100
  • Jessica Armstrong
    signed 2018-10-09 09:42:32 +1100
    Jessica Armstrong
  • Leanne Taylor
    signed 2018-10-09 09:42:12 +1100
    Alan Jones is the person who should be sacked. His interview with Louise Heron was disgusting and abusive. He implied he would call the Premier to have her sacked- unbelievable!
  • Tess Oliver
    signed 2018-10-09 09:41:50 +1100
  • Grahame Perkins
    signed 2018-10-09 09:41:23 +1100
    Grahame Perkins
  • Glenn Wilson
    signed 2018-10-09 09:35:12 +1100
  • Richard Vaughan
    signed 2018-10-09 09:31:41 +1100
  • Fred Davies
    signed 2018-10-09 09:26:06 +1100
    Fred Davies
  • Nicole Pluss
    signed 2018-10-09 09:15:53 +1100
  • Anne Wallis
    signed 2018-10-09 09:11:31 +1100
  • Barb La Ganza
    signed 2018-10-09 09:08:47 +1100
  • Julie Kearney
    signed 2018-10-09 09:08:02 +1100
    Julie Kearney
  • Jessica White
    signed 2018-10-09 09:06:14 +1100
  • Ian Werner
    signed 2018-10-09 08:54:27 +1100
  • Paul Mason 🏳️‍🌈Yes
    @masopl65 tweeted link to this page. 2018-10-09 08:54:10 +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=260981
  • Paul Mason 🏳️‍🌈Yes
    signed 2018-10-09 08:54:01 +1100
  • Christian Kiely
    signed 2018-10-09 08:51:01 +1100
  • brian standlick
    signed 2018-10-09 08:47:49 +1100