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Issued Sunday 22 March 2009


Following media reports of in principle support from the NSW State Government for long-term plans for the Sydney Opera House Renewal Project, Chief Executive Richard Evans commented, “I am encouraged to hear that the Renewal Project is under active consideration by the NSW Government and welcome Premier and Arts Minister Nathan Rees’ recent announcement to the press”, Mr Evans said today.

“This critical project has been under extensive preparation and research for several years. Our original architect, Jørn Utzon, who passed away in November last year, worked closely with us on this project by providing detailed plans and designs for essential upgrades to the Opera House venues.”

This Renewal Project, like other vital infrastructure projects is part of a nation building program necessary in these difficult economic times. The Renewal Project will provide immediate economic stimulus with the project extending over seven years creating more than 3,000 jobs and, when complete, will generate substantial financial, cultural and tourism benefits to the local and Australian economies.
Sydney Opera House is a critical piece of tourism infrastructure, according to Access Economics conservatively contributing over $300 million annually to the nation. Visited by 7.5 million people each year, Sydney Opera House is also one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world.

“No one could have envisaged how busy this building would become over the 35 years since it opened.  Parts of the building are now in danger of failing unless we undertake a large overhaul of our facilities.”

In order to keep Sydney Opera House operating as a fully functioning building we urgently need to address many issues:

• Access for people with disabilities or restricted mobility
• Health and safety upgrades for our backstage staff, musicians and performers
• Loading and unloading facilities that would take hundreds of heavy vehicle movement away from general public activity and give us a more secure facility
• Replacement of air conditioning
• Modernisation of smoke extraction technology
• Upgrades to backstage lifts and theatrical flying equipment
• Increased mandated energy efficiency
• Enhancement of Box Office foyers and public spaces
• Improvements to Concert Hall acoustics
• Improved financial viability

Mr Evans went on to say, “It is a sad fact that in a recent survey our Opera Theatre was placed last on a list of international rankings for opera theatres. Our international standing as an acclaimed performance venue and icon of modern architecture is in serious decline and I firmly believe that Australia cannot afford, as a nation, for this vital renewal program not to proceed.

Media Enquiries
Vanessa Duscio, Sydney Opera House
(02) 9250 7678 / 0409 977 312 /
Christopher Wynton, Sydney Opera House
(02) 9250 7836 / 0403 461 005 /



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