Big win for Jones as Premier backs Racing NSW Opera House request

Aubrey Yates
October 10, 2018

The sails of the internationally feted Sydney Opera House will be misguidedly turned into a blatant betting billboard for a $10 million horse race today, after the NSW government capitulated to unbecoming and insidious pressure.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stood by her controversial decision to promote The Everest horse race on the Sydney Opera House. In two days it garnered 55,000 signatures, and by this morning that figure had more than doubled, with thousands throwing their support behind Herron who argued the projections would put the building's heritage status in jeopardy.

Images publicising the Everest horse race will be projected onto the famous World Heritage Site on Tuesday October 9.

Anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello said the advertising demonstrated the power of the Australian horse racing industry that made a profit of A$3.3 billion Australian dollars ($3.6 billion) past year.

"This is one of the biggest events of the year why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has", the prime minister told reporters in regional NSW on Sunday.

'These events generate massive economic opportunities.

"It's not like they're painting it on there".

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'The gambling lobby, particularly in New South Wales, is the equivalent of the National Rifle Association in America. I mean, it's some lights flashing up there for a brief moment of time.

Jones said during the terse exchange: "We own the Opera House. To me, the Opera House is a representation of Australia's capacity to build splendid things". Federal MP Anthony Albanese agreed, telling ABC Sydney that people should "chill out a bit" and it was okay to use the Opera House as a "billboard".

Later on the program, Jones went on a tirade against "lefties" taking issue with the promotion of horse racing on the Opera House sails, wildly claiming it was hypocritical given the event space was sold for concerts and events and "whatever will raise money for Louise".

With the debate heating up, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys on Monday revealed he and his staff had received death threats.

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

The Opera House declined to comment on the controversy, referring all queries to the state government. The Everest is the world's richest turf race and injected $100 million into the NSW economy previous year.

"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.

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