The Sydney Opera House has been ordered by the New South Wales (NSW) government to display horseracing adverts on its famous sails.
Originally, the Chief Executive of the Sydney landmark, Louise Herron, agreed to a limited display of only the jockey’s colours, leaving out horse names, the name of the race and the numbers of the barriers, but State Premier Gladys Berejiklian overruled this decision on 5 October.
Before Premier Berejiklian bypassed Herron’s decision, Herron was interviewed on The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, where she said: “We have no problem with that (displaying the colours only). What we won’t do is put text or videos of horse numbers or names, or the Everest logo, on the Opera House sails. It’s not a billboard.”
Peter V'landys, Racing NSW CEO, also spoke on the program, saying it would mean “absolutely nothing” to put only the colours on the sails and compared this situation to the 2015 decision to light up the opera house in the colours of the Australian national rugby team.
V'landys went on to ask Herron why the world of racing was being discriminated against.
Unable to come to an agreement in their ongoing negotiations, Premier Berejiklian was called upon to intervene and make a final decision.
The Sydney Opera House is owned by the NSW government and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The race in question is Australia’s richest. The Everest boasts a A$13m (US$9.2m) total prize pool and a starting place costs A$600,000.