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?

  • Lee Mears
    signed 2018-10-09 06:32:54 +1100
  • Elen Shute
    signed 2018-10-09 06:28:02 +1100
    Please don’t allow the cultural heritage value of the Sydney Opera House to be diminished and demeaned by crass advertising. If I were a tourist visiting Sydney, would I want a photograph of the iconic Opera House that had racing advertising displayed on it to take home as as a momento? No, of course not.
  • Jon Worthen
    signed 2018-10-09 06:07:06 +1100
  • Barb Lohman
    signed 2018-10-09 06:01:47 +1100
  • Annette Kruk
    signed 2018-10-09 05:52:06 +1100
    Annette Kruk
  • Stuart John Mckellar
    signed 2018-10-09 05:45:39 +1100
  • Tim Rodsted
    signed 2018-10-09 05:42:22 +1100
  • Matthew Donovan
    signed 2018-10-09 05:12:48 +1100
  • Jenny Ilasi
    signed 2018-10-09 04:57:39 +1100
  • Elena Bettio
    signed 2018-10-09 04:46:20 +1100
  • Beau Jones
    signed 2018-10-09 04:41:51 +1100
  • Merrilyn Wasson
    signed 2018-10-09 03:29:15 +1100
  • Stephen Ragell
    signed 2018-10-09 03:19:08 +1100
  • Yuri Bolotin
    signed 2018-10-09 03:10:03 +1100
    Yuri Bolotin
  • Susan McLeod
    signed 2018-10-09 02:41:37 +1100
  • Diarmuid Pigott
    signed 2018-10-09 02:26:58 +1100
  • Mara Roberts
    signed 2018-10-09 02:20:30 +1100
    Leave the Opera House alone!
  • Lisa Chatwin
    signed 2018-10-09 02:10:50 +1100
    Lisa Chatwin the Opera House is not a billboard. Radio commentators should not be dictating to politicians. Politicians work for the people not for the racing industry, I don’t ever remember voting for Alan Jones to represent my interests.
  • Lynn Williams
    signed 2018-10-09 01:53:00 +1100
  • Remi Forcet
    signed 2018-10-09 01:52:08 +1100
    Could you make sure to work for the good of all Australians instead of giving power to Allan Jones or the gambling industry? It is scary that an idiotic bully gets his way, what does it say about Australian democracy?
  • Richard Bojack
    signed 2018-10-09 01:43:13 +1100
  • Kevin Harding
    signed 2018-10-09 01:34:50 +1100
  • Tania Emms
    signed 2018-10-09 01:34:13 +1100
  • Stephen Howton
    signed 2018-10-09 01:28:10 +1100
  • Orieta Hevia
    signed 2018-10-09 01:21:49 +1100
  • Gabrielle Frith
    signed 2018-10-09 01:20:34 +1100
  • Daniel Endicott
    signed 2018-10-09 01:02:33 +1100
  • Jordan Dalley
    signed 2018-10-09 00:58:06 +1100