Minns defends King Charles’ Opera House snub

·2-min read
NSW Premier Chris Minns has defended his decision not to light up the Sydney Opera House sails for King Charles III’s Coronation. Picture: Robert Wallace/ AFP
NSW Premier Chris Minns has defended his decision not to light up the Sydney Opera House sails for King Charles III’s Coronation. Picture: Robert Wallace/ AFP

NSW Premier Chris Minns has defended his decision to not light up the sails of the Sydney Opera House in honour of King Charles III’s Coronation, a move that would have cost NSW taxpayers between $80,000 to $100,000.

While the move had been approved by the former government, the decision was canned in a move to “protect the taxpayers’ money”.

This comes after the Opera House was lit up 70 times in 2022 at a cost to taxpayers of between $5.6m to $7m.

The Opera House bore an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the night after she died on September 9, 2022. Picture: Robert Wallace/ AFP
The Opera House bore an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the night after she died on September 9, 2022. Picture: Robert Wallace/ AFP

Mr Minns said the tribute should be reserved to commemorate “important heroic events for the state”.

“I do believe it’s important to protect taxpayer money and frankly, I think it was just being lit up too often,” he said.

“I want to make it clear I think the Opera House is for Australia and Australians, (and) for important events and achievements that they’ve been able to accomplish.

“International events where Australia needs to project solidarity with another country, like for example 911, or the invasion of Ukraine, (and) events that are taking place in Sydney.”

PREMIER CHRIS MINNS
The Premier said the Opera House was ‘just being lit up too often’. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Monique Harmer

Mr Minns said future tributes would be made depending on a “judgment call” and added that the government had also rejected applications made by community groups and religious organisations to light up the Opera House for significant celebrations and events.

He also said the government was “looking at” a formal framework for such decisions.

In recent times, the Sydney Opera House was lit up in rainbow colours to mark the opening night of WorldPride 2023.

In late April, the sails also bore a red and white ribbon in honour of Steven Tougher, a NSW paramedic who was allegedly stabbed while on shift, as well as the work of all emergency workers.

While the iconic landmark did not celebrate the Coronation, Admiralty House in Kirribilli and the Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse in the Australian National Maritime Museum were illuminated.

In comparison, 18 sites paid tribute through light shows in Victoria, plus 10 in Queensland and seven in the nation’s capital.