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Sydney Opera House By-Law

Current By-law: Sydney Opera House Trust By-law 2015 (2015 By-law)

The 2015 By-law is made under the Sydney Opera House Trust Act 1961. It provides for the general management and control of the Opera House, protection of the building, and regulation of the use and enjoyment of the Opera House. The By-law assists the Opera House in ensuring the safety and security of visitors and staff.

The 2015 By-law can be accessed here


Draft Sydney Opera House Trust By-law 2021 (draft 2021 By-law)

Notice is given in accordance with Section 5 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1989 of the intention to remake the 2015 By-law under the Sydney Opera House Trust Act 1961.

The Opera House By-law is automatically repealed every five years, in accordance with the Subordinate Legislation Act 1989. As the 2020 remake was postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19, the By-law is due for automatic repeal on 1 September 2021. The Opera House is now seeking comments and submissions on the draft 2021 By-law.

What’s this about?

Every five years, the Opera House undertakes a review of its By-law, in accordance with statutory requirements. The Opera House proposes changes to aspects of the Sydney Opera House Trust By-law 2015 (2015 By-law) to reflect its current operating environment.

The proposed draft 2021 By-law includes the following objectives:

  • Health, safety and security of people on the Opera House precinct;
  • Protection of the fabric of the Opera House and its contents;
  • Protection of the Opera House brand and its image as a national icon, major tourist attraction and meeting place;
  • Managing access to the Opera House building and precinct;
  • Protection of revenues;
  • Effective management of the Opera House and its staff;
  • Support for the Opera House as a cultural leader and world-class performing arts centre; and
  • Provision of memorable and enjoyable visitor experiences.

The proposed amendments will:

  • Update the definition of ‘aircraft’ to expressly include drones. Launching or landing aircraft from and on Opera House premises is prohibited, and authorised officers may direct aircraft to be removed from the Opera House premises for the purposes of safety and security.
  • Expand the regulation of vehicles and cycles to include other similar devices that may affect the safety and amenity of pedestrians on the site, such as scooters, skateboards and rollerblades. Riding these devices will now be prohibited on the Opera House premises.
  • Enable authorised officers to give directions to enforce particular requirements, such as excluding members of the public and vehicles from certain areas, as opposed to relying on signs and barriers. The use of signs or barriers on site may not always correspond with site policies (e.g. the Opera House’s Conservation Management Plan).
  • Enable authorised officers to direct a person to leave the Opera House premises to protect their health and safety, or the health and safety of another person, e.g. due to lightning or flooding.
  • Expand the list of activities prohibited on Opera House premises to include public demonstrations, and methods of distribution or display of content such as promotional material and unauthorised sails projections.
  • Broaden technology references and clarify that interference with Opera House electronic, technological or computer systems and networks (such as WiFi) is prohibited.
  • Prohibit smoking on the Opera House premises, except in designated smoking areas.

The draft 2021 By-law should be read alongside its Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), which examines the economic and social costs and benefits of the draft 2021 By-law, as well as alternative ways to meet the By-law objectives. The RIS concludes that the draft 2021 By-law has the greatest effectiveness in meeting those objectives.


Have your say by no later than 5pm on Thursday 6 May 2021

You can provide comments and submissions by email or mail:

  • Email:
  • Post: c/- Edward Bernasconi, Government Relations Officer, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, GPO Box 4274, Sydney NSW

Questions can be directed to Edward Bernasconi on (02) 9250 7677.

All comments and submissions received by no later than 5pm on Thursday 6 May 2021 will be carefully considered before finalising the 2021 By-law.

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