The NSW Government is facing a growing backlash over the decision to display an advertisement for an upcoming horse race on the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also under heat for agreeing with the idea, stating in a recent press release that he comes from a tourism background and events such as this generate massive economic opportunities for the state, so ‘why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?’.
Late last week Alan Jones from 2GB Radio and Opera House CEO Louise Herron had a heated on-air conversation, with the breakfast host advocating for The Everest to be promoted on the sails of the iconic building, as per the State Government’s recommendation.
However, the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) disagrees, instead voicing their support for Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Louise Herron in upholding the policy of her organisation and opposing the use of the sails of the World Heritage listed Opera House in a manner contrary to that policy.
NSW Chapter President of the AIA, Andrew Nimmo said that the management of the Opera House has a duty to the people of New South Wales to protect the Opera House from exploitation.
“We are disappointed that the NSW Government has intervened and instructed them, against their policy, to allow its sails to be lit up with commercially driven material,” Mr Nimmo said.
“The commercial benefit of projecting onto the Opera House is undeniable, and we understand that as a major tourist icon, the Opera House will be expected to lend its prestige in the support of tourism from time to time.”
“However, this must be done with the utmost care to ensure that community expectations are met, and the integrity of the Opera House as a cultural icon is maintained and not trashed,” Mr Nimmo continued.
“It seems we are continually seeing the commercialisation of major public spaces for the benefit of private commercial gain. We fear that a new precedent has been set where exclusive commercial interests have been supported by the Government over public benefit,” Mr Nimmo said.
A petition was created over the weekend in support for Louise Herron and has since gained over 280,400 signatures. The petition was handed to NSW parliament this morning.
Alan Jones has since publicly apologised to Louise Herron admitting that his fiery exchange with Ms Herron was ‘tough stuff on a tough issue’ and was apologetic for the impact that his views had on all those involved. We anticipate that more information on this story is still to come.