The Sydney Opera House. The Everest Carnival. Two seemingly disparate things that are today tied up bureaucratic tangle that’s caused outrage on all sides. So much so that 2GB radio host Alan Jones decided to step in.
So what’s a 45-year-old national landmark got to do with a $10 million horse race?
Well, the state’s Liberal government has instructed the Sydney Opera House to promote the October 13 event via an enormous projection to be cast onto the building’s iconic white sails on Tuesday night.
It’s a move Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys says will help “take Sydney to the world”.
“We have two of the greatest landmarks anywhere in the world — why wouldn’t we use them to promote Sydney internationally?” he told The Daily Telegraph.
The 1200 metre sprint race, to be held at Royal Randwick, is the richest turf race on the planet and will be broadcast internationally.
At this stage, it looks like the projection will feature an image of The Everest trophy, the barrier numbers and colour of the jockeys' silks. The initial proposal included the race's logo, but a compromised was reportedly reached after resistance from Sydney Opera House management.
Why are people upset?
As Sydney Opera House CEO, Louise Herron, explained to The Sydney Morning Herald: “The community regards the Opera House as its asset to be treated with respect, to be treated as the treasure it is."
Instead, she fears that with decisions like this, the tax-payer owned landmark risks losing its World Heritage status and becoming "a billboard".
In fact, Opera House policy explicitly forbids the display of "logo[s] or corporate identity": "What that means is when people come along and say ‘I want to advertise Chicken Tonight on the sails,’ we can hold firm because we never approve that," the chief executive told The Sydney Morning Herald.