In a victory for common sense, NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian has handed broadcaster Alan Jones and Racing NSW a massive public relations and promotional victory, with her government instructing the Sydney Opera House to allow its sails to be lit up with colours, numbers and a trophy to promote next Saturday’s Everest horse race.
The Conservative Party has questioned Sydney Opera House management’s initial decision to ban the light show given the fact that two years ago Labor leader Bill Shorten and controversial Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo lit up the Opera House sails in red lights to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, with NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres acting as the broker during a tense two days of negotiations, the government has also agreed that the word ‘Everest’ should be included in the projections, which will be used to promote the barrier draw for the $10 million horse race. Racing NSW had also wanted to list horse names on the Opera House sails, but that will not happen.
The agreement was secured only an hour after Opera House chief executive Louise Herron told the Herald her organisation would not depart from its policy of not allowing logos or branding to be projected on to the World Heritage listed structure, but would ultimately do as instructed by the government.
“If we said yes to this, ‘we’re fine put the Everest logo on there' our policy is worthless to us, we’re just going to allow whoever comes along to use the Opera House as a billboard,’ we would lose our World Heritage status,” Ms Herron said, about an hour before the government agreed to do almost exactly that.
Despite the Opera House’s policy, the government retains the power to instruct it to be used for promotional purposes. When logos have been projected onto the Opera House in the past – for instance, for the Wallabies rugby team or to mark Australia’s Ashes victory – this has been done under such direction.
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