Anger at Opera House 'billboard' plan

Premier defends controversial decision to promote horse race on Opera House

Jones on Friday attacked Opera House chief executive Louise Herron, who had ruled out allowing words or branding to be projected onto the venue because "it's not a billboard", and called for her to be sacked.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also defended the decision, stating that the original promotion has now been toned down to fit people's tastes.

Almost 165,000 people had signed an online petition as of Monday against using the Opera House for the promotion, which has dominated social media in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the Sydney Opera House as a "big billboard" and says he'd happily advertise events on the Harbour Bridge too.

But Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Saturday the projects were "blatant commercialization" while a change.org petition against the move has attracted more than 40,000 signatures in two days.

The Guardian also reports the United Nations body that declares world heritage sites is "looking into" the Racing NSW promotion.

That horse-racing is characterised by the torture and killing of horses, and gambling, is irrelevant - surely no one would argue that some dead horses, or the lives of the tiny minority of gamblers unable to exercise restraint, are more important than the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of people and a $7 billion industry!

"Why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?"

'These events generate massive economic opportunities.

"I'm absolutely confident the Sydney Opera House will continue to be the icon that it is globally and for us locally", she said. It ... has politicians in the palm of its hand, ' the anti-gambling campaigner told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. We own the Opera House.

"And he said, 'I do not want my people to miss anything that they could get in Europe.' It was that simple and nice and marvellous".

He continued: 'It's not as if they're painting it on there. "To me, the Opera House is a representation of Australia's capacity to build splendid things".

"We are promoting a unique Sydney event, The Everest, not gambling".

Jones spoke to Herron and Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys earlier this week, putting pressure on the Opera House CEO to reverse the decision.

"Let's remind Alan that the Opera House truly does belong to everyone, by supporting Louise Herron's staunch defence of one of our city and country's few instantly recognisable heritage landmarks", wrote petition organiser Mike Woodcock in its description. But the state government blocked that plan and offered the Opera House instead.

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