Sydney Opera House horse race 'advertising' sparks uproar

Anti-gambling activist Tim Costello says Jones's

But many view the decision as a unsafe tipping point, saying it risked the building's commercialisation and its world heritage listing.

Following the NSW government's controversial choice to allow the upcoming Everest horse race to be promoted on the sails of the Sydney Opera House, an online petition supporting its CEO Louise Herron - who rejected the ads - has gained almost 150,000 signatures in a couple of days (at time of publication).

"I would say to Prime Minister Morrison, you're not a marketing executive".

But the state government blocked that plan and offered the Opera House instead.

"I'm absolutely confident the Sydney Opera House will continue to be the icon that it is globally and for us locally", she said.

The Sydney Opera House, inaugurated in 1973, is recognised by the United Nations as a "masterpiece of 20th Century architecture".

"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", she said.

But state Premier Gladys Berejiklian overturned the decision, approving a revised advert for a 10-minute projection.

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Herron also told the SMH that she had received an outpouring of support following Jones' aggressive interview.

"It's important for us to support our major events, it's important for us to promote New South Wales but, of course, do it in good taste and I believe that tomorrow evening strikes that right balance", Berejiklian told reporters. Almost 3,000 people plan to attend a "light-based" protest to interrupt the projection on Tuesday.

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

"This is one of the biggest events of the year (so) why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?" he said on Sunday.

While some have defended the promotion as having economic benefits, others say it is crass commercialism and threatens the iconic building's value as a World Heritage site.

Others accused Jones of bullying Ms Herron, while the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ms Berejiklian had handed him and the racing industry "a massive public relations and promotional victory".

The building's sails are often illuminated for art and cultural events - such as for Vivid Sydney, an annual light festival.

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