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Sydney Opera House declared as iconically Australian as the kangaroo and koala

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Sydney Opera House declared as iconically Australian as the kangaroo and koala
A report into the Sydney Opera House’s social value by Deloitte says the venue is the most recognised human-made symbol of Australia.

The Deloitte Access Economics report, released today, puts the Opera House in a category of its own in terms of built infrastructure and equates its Australian symbolism as matched only by the two most famous of Australia’s native animals.

The report put the Sydney Opera House’s social capital at $11.4 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2013, the House’s 40th anniversary, when Deloitte compiled its inaugural evaluation of the venue’s social value. The just-released social value is nearly four times the value of the physical building and the land it sits on, which is believed to be $3 billion. In terms of economic impact, the Opera House generated $1.2 billion in the last financial year.

The social value of the Opera House was determined through combining the attendee value – including prices paid to experience the venue as well as the value received over and above the price paid – the existence value and the digital value of the cultural institution.

“The Opera House plays an important economic role, contributing $1.2 billion to the NSW economy and supporting more than 8,000 FTE employees,” said Deloitte Access Economics economist, Rhiannon Yetsenga, one of the report’s authors.

“But it is also one of the strongest brands in the world, making Australia one of the only countries that is recognisable by an arts and culture centre.

“Beyond its economic and brand value, the Opera House provides audiences with access to unique experiences and is an integral part of Australia’s national identity. In 2023, Deloitte estimates the social value of the Opera House is worth $11.4 billion.”

According to Deloitte, almost half of the Sydney Opera House’s social value – $5 billion –comes from its existence, or “the value that Australians place on just knowing that the Opera House exists”. Deloitte determined this by surveying those who had not attended the Opera House precinct in the last year how much funding they thought the venue should receive.

The Sydney Opera House’s digital value was set at $500 million, with more than 900,000 of Sydney Opera House content consumed in the 2022-2023 financial year. During the pandemic, the Opera House made a huge digital content push through its “From our house to yours” initiative while the venue was closed due to lockdowns ordered to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Since the last social value report was put together, the Sydney Opera House has completed more than $300 million in capital works and opened more of the venue to both the public and business events visitors.

Over the past decade, we have focused on changing the Opera House for the future and for the better,” said Sydney Opera House CEO, Louise Herron AM.

“While our economic contribution has been affected by the pandemic, the social value Australians place on the Opera House has increased by 38 per cent in real terms since 2013.

“People see it as ‘unique, visionary and dynamic’, attributes that have been part of the Opera House’s DNA since the very beginning.

“As we prepare to celebrate the building’s 50th birthday, it’s wonderful to see that the love Australians have for this place is stronger than ever.”

In addition to exclusive tours and performances, the Opera House offers several event spaces, including the Yallamundi Rooms on the northern end of the precinct, which opened in 2019.

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