The renovation would bring the interior in line with architect Joern Utzon's original plans for the first time. Utzon, who designed the iconic opera house, quit the project in 1966, angered by cost-saving measures, and another architect completed it.
In 2002, Utzon agreed to participate in a small-scale renovation, and the state of New South Wales contributed A$70 million. But the scale of the project has since grown dramatically.
When the renovation was announced, Australian Ballet and Opera Australia, the opera house's two major tenants, made plans to move to alternative venues. But with no sign that work will begin soon, the two organizations now intend to remain in the opera house through 2007. For 2008, an Opera Australia spokesperson said, the company has a "contingency" plan in case a move becomes necessary.