Planned racing ad on sails of Sydney Opera House divisive

The NSW Premier has denied shock jock Alan Jones has pressured her decision. Source AAPMore

Mr Morrison, a former tourism marketer, defended the advert, calling the Opera House the "biggest billboard Sydney has".

Jones, who has multi-million-dollar investments in racehorse breeding, is the person who pushed the idea in the first place, according to Racing NSW.

'The gambling lobby, particularly in New South Wales, is the equivalent of the National Rifle Association in America.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition opposing a plan advertise The Everest race, the richest on turf in the world, on the sails of the World Heritage-listed building.

"The Opera House was the alternate venue put forward by the NSW government, which wanted to support the promotion of the event internationally, as it had done for other sporting events", he wrote in an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday.

"These events generate massive economic opportunities". It. has politicians in the palm of its hand, " Costello, a spokesman for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, told the ABC.

"I don't know why people are getting so precious about it", he said. I mean, it's some lights flashing up there for a brief moment of time.

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"I just don't understand why we tie ourselves up in knots about these things", the Prime Minister told 2GB's Alan Jones on Monday morning.

However he did not directly address the question of whether the Opera House should be used to promote the Everest horse race, saying that as someone whose electorate was "home" to two major races ( the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup) he "liked" racing and "can see the impact that promoting racing brings to jobs". After all, there is no evidence that advertising would degrade the value of the Opera House; indeed, it is possible that regular and colourful displays of prominent brand names on the otherwise bland white sails of the building would enhance, rather than diminish, its tourist appeal.

In the past the Opera House has been used to project colours and images, marking events, from sports matches to religious holidays, as well as the annual Vivid light and sound festival.

'The World Heritage listing requires not only that the building be preserved in its fabric, but also that it be presented properly ... and no way under the current conservation management plan should this be allowed, ' Mr Quint said.

National Trust NSW conservation director Graham Quint says projecting commercial material onto the Opera House contravenes state laws.

A petition to "Defend Our Opera House: Support Louise Herron" on change.org has been backed by 45,000 people.

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