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Valuing 50 years of Australia’s Icon

The Opera House at the end of the Decade of Renewal

This report from Deloitte Access Economics provides an update on the economic and social value of the Opera House in its 50th year. 

At its 40th anniversary, the Opera House launched its ‘Decade of Renewal’, a bold plan to open up the building to more of the community, while setting the stage for future generations of artists, audiences and visitors. This year, at its 50th anniversary, the Renewal is now complete.

This report considers the economic contribution of the Opera House to New South Wales, its social value to Australia, as well as the important contributions it makes across digital platforms, celebrating First Nations arts and culture, and advancing social and environmental sustainability. The report builds on reports produced by Deloitte in 2013 and 2018, to highlight how the value of the Opera House has evolved throughout the Decade of Renewal.

In 2022-23 the Opera House precinct generated $1.2 billion in economic value and supported 8,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Its biggest impact comes from the role of the Opera House in attracting tourists to visit Sydney from around the country and around the world. In fact, the tourism contribution of Opera House alone is worth more than $800 million.

The social value of the Opera House is estimated at $11.4 billion in 2023. This is a 38% real increase over the decade in like-for-like terms. The social value of the Opera House comprises the value to audiences from attending events and performances, the value Australians place on the existence of the Opera House, and the digital value of the Opera House.

Of course, the Opera House is not just a building, a performance venue or a website – it’s one of the strongest brands in the world, making Australia one of the only countries that is recognisable by an arts and culture centre. In fact, the Opera House is the best-known human-made symbol of Australia’s national identity. 

At the midpoint of the Decade of Renewal, Deloitte Access Economics completed an updated assessment of the Opera House’s cultural, social and digital value, along with its economic contribution to Australia. At the five-year mark of the decade the report produced encouraging results with significant real growth in the Opera House’s economic contribution and social value. At this point the Opera House refreshed its strategy, having reflected on its achievements over the first five years of renewal and the significant changes and emerging opportunities available through to the end of the Decade.

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In the lead-up to its 40th anniversary in 2013, the Opera House launched a Decade of Renewal, designed to ensure that it continues to inspire generations of artists, audiences and visitors, and encompassing an ambitious program of capital works. To develop a clear understanding of the worth and contribution of this symbol of Australia, Deloitte Access Economics was engaged in 2013 to assess the Opera House’s cultural, social and digital value, along with its economic contribution to Australia through the direct and indirect financial and employment value it adds. The report’s key findings indicate that the Opera House provides significant benefits to the Australian economy, that Australians place a high value on the Sydney Opera House, and that its impact is likely to grow in the future.

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