How Much to Put a Flag Pole on The Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Aboriginal flag to fly permanently from Sydney Harbour Bridge by end of the year

I wonder how much it costs to put a pole on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. $25 million sounds outrageous. Can someone with knowledge on construction throw some light on this?

Really interested to know


  • -1

    Nah it's only 1 buck per person, much less outrageous eh?

    Like everything (material or otherwise), most the cost goes into maintenance.

    • +18

      most the cost goes into maintenance.

      The entire bridge maintenance is only $5m per year, so I struggle to make sense of the 25m figure unless its including decades of maint and replacements.

      Kinda feels like a deliberate publicity stunt though when a public cost breakdown would instant solve the debate whichever way it falls

      • +10

        Sounds more like a (profanity) you price we give when we don't want a commercial contract but the client and us have no choice.

        It probably costs $500k and the extra $24.5 million is the please get rid of my problem money.

        • +3

          I agree, I don't do civil engineering anymore but it tastes like the initial quotes we get in mining lol.
          That said, it could have decades of maint built into it like I said, so this whole convo could be moot/deliberately divisive for coverage.

          • @900dollaridoos: make you think how much help 24.5million would fix problem with our aboriginal people over.

    • +18

      100 meter wind turbine costs less. I cannot comprehend the cost of this flag.

    • -1

      whilst in ukraine…sri lanka…africa……….amazing btw how aust spends $25million on this and $50million on srilanka foreign aid.

  • +42

    The flagpole is six stories high, and the flag is bigger than a couple of 20ft containers stacked on top of each other, it isn’t knocked up with a bag of quickset in the hole to hold it up.

    That said, $25m does sound like a lot of money.

    • +120

      The flagpole is six stories high, and the flag is bigger than a couple of 20ft containers stacked on top of each other

      Americans will measure with anything but the metric system.

      • +9

        Americans and logic are 2 words never used in the same sentence.

      • So what size wheels are on your car? Mine are 15 inch diameter by 7 inch wide. Its stamped on them. 15JJ7. Even though the car was built in France where they haven't used anything but metric for a long time. Because wheel sizes were standardised in a country that used inches and feet. So tyre sizes are bizarrely a metric width and an imperial wheel size it goes on. Like 205x15. And its the same with shipping containers. The dimensions were standardised in a country that used inches and feet, so a standard "20 foot" container is referred to as that in every country in the world, even the ones that use metric measures. That's the standard sizes containers come in, "10 foot", standard "20 foot", "30 foot", "40 foot", and "45 foot".

    • +12


      • Maybe GP tells tall stories?

    • How about a 40ft container? Is it bigger than that?

      • +3

        It's the double of half of that

    • +25

      The flagpole is six stories high

      For $25 million you could have an actual six story building.

      • +1

        this is true - work for a building company and we've done this - full 6 storey hotel.
        Price is bulldust

      • Storey, storeys.

      • -3

        For $25 million you could have an actual six story building.

        Not in Sydney, and certainly not with harbour views

    • Not a lot of money! You cannot even buy 20 houses for that amount in Sydney. Not even two, if you are looking to buy a house with a view to the new flagpole.

      For comparison if that ~20m flag pole was made of pure gold it would weigh between one and three tones and cost between 100 million and 250 million AU$. So we should not complain about prudent and frugal approach by our government to have it made from aluminum which is both lighter and cheaper. Well done NSW gov!

      • For comparison if that ~20m flag pole was made of pure gold it would weigh between one and three tones and cost between 100 million and 250 million AU$

        Aluminium is only 14% the density of gold, and much much cheaper.

        So the same size pole as in your example would weigh between 140kg and 420kg and only cost between $614 and $1841

        • My point exactly, we should praise our government for using aluminum and keeping the cost down to only $25 million

  • +2

    they have re-engineer it to support a new pole, then install it
    lot of work

    • +1

      I thought to date it already had two flagpoles? So $25m just for the fabric.

      • They are adding a third pole, for Aus flag, NSW flag and Aboriginal flag.

        • +71

          Yeesh, just take down the NSW flag. It's not rocket science. Its almost the same bloody flag as Aussie flag anyway

        • +6

          When I heard about the third pole I thought it was going to be for the rainbow flag. You never know

    • +37

      Well before that they'll need a few meetings to assess the feasibility of what has to be done and by whom.

      Then an environmental assessment has to be done. The flapping of another flag might upset some elderly seashells and other sea creatures lodging in the Harbor.

      200 million or nothing …

      • +18

        I’d swear you’ve been watching Utopia.

        • +5

          Utopia is based on real story… Isn't it?

          • +4

            @choopachups: Utopia shows government departments having moments of competence at times, so no.

            • +1

              @banana365: Bahaha.
              As fleeting as these moments are i agree.

              2 years in a Nation Building equivalent department demonstrated this. Trash workers doing the bear minimum with zero accountability from leadership.

          • +1

            @choopachups: (profanity), that is why the lib government want to kill ABC, they cannot stand satire that is based on reality

      • +6

        +1 for the elderly seashell visibility. I won't rest till they have a flag too though

    • It's simple to engineer a pole, baseplate and bolts to an over engineered structure, it's an hour's work.

    • they have re-engineer it to support a new pole

      Is there a chance the bridge could bend?

      • +1

        not on your life, my hindu friend!

    • I hope you are sarcastic!
      How it may go in reality:
      - hmmmm…. where are the design files for the other two flagpoles?
      <Opens old plans>
      - Mick, does these numbers look right to you?
      - (Mick the Engineer) Yeah mate, just enlarge the mounting plate by 20%, make mounting holes larger too, add two extra in the middle so it is not obvious, run the numbers through static analysis program, and let me sign of later. Oh for a good measure, run also fluids dynamic simulation with Mach 1 wind speeds - it does not hurt to demonstrate our expertise!
      <cue sponge Bob "much, much later" jingle>
      <Half hour later>
      - Hey Mick, it's done, do you mind approving it quickly, so Jenny can send invoice today for one bajillion dollars?
      - Done mate!

      Helicopter crane operators:
      - How much should we charge for this gig? Is one bajillion dollars per half hour too low? Engineers charged one bajillion for copy and paste…

  • +47

    They should just have the Australian flag and the aboriginal flag, no need to have 3 flags especially when it costs so much to add one more.

    • +20

      Absolutely. Does anyone sometimes feel like they like in a backwards universe?? Where we even consider wasting $25m to install a 3rd flag, instead of just swapping out the flags??

      • +7

        I just think of all the people genuinely struggling atm and all the beneficial ways $25 million dollars could help people in Australia over the next year. Makes me disheartened. Whos funding this anyway? Nsw or federal?

        • My thoughts exactly. Can we just have no flags at all and invest a small fortune into more worthy projects?

          Saying that they'd probably require $100m to remove the current flags…

        • +2

          Exactly - ask some Indigenous Aussies - do you want your flag added to the NSW flagpole for $50K and $24,950,000 added to a charity for indigenous education/health whatever…. or a new $25,000,000 flag pole

      • Pandering and virtue signalling.

        They could have just put the $25M into the community if they were really being serious about helping improve lives.

        But no, let's waste it on a pointless flag pole no one cares about

  • +22

    just tie it the flag to the bridge with some rope at each corner. Sure it will wear out but $25m is a lifetime of rope at Bunnings.

    Reminded of when I worked for a casino company and when you get a quote for simple things like TVs it is 4x the price because they try their luck and think you are made of money. If $25m is the best price I'd hate to see what the other bids might have been.

    • +7

      Maybe the government only needs 1 quote for jobs $25 Million or below.

    • +3

      When you work for big organisations you quickly realise there are two prices. One for consumers who are spending their own money, and are only willing to spend it on things and features that are valuable to them, and another much higher price for "enterprise" customers. The latter are where a bunch of experts are spending other peoples money, and they do it by deciding on all the features they would like to get, then pay whatever is necessary to get them all, no matter how much extra they have to pay of other peoples money to get them. I've been involved in tendering for a big bank. You wouldn't believe how big a price big organisations pay for stuff like computers.

      Then you find out there's actually a third even higher price. Its the price governments pay for things. What happens there is where the supplier offers the "enterprise" version, at the "enterprise" price, then finds a whole lot of reasons to charge even more. Have you ever seen a big government project that came in on time and on budget and delivered everything promised? Look at the NBN. Look at Sydney's Metro project.

      The fence between my yard and the adjacent council reserve had to be replaced. I only had to pay half, but because it had to be done by an approved tenderer to approved specs so that half was about what I would have paid if I'd never gotten the council involved.

      • +2

        There is also the price which includes kick backs.

        One of the managers later got found out when the company got suspicious how they were living in a multi million dollar house and drive a Maserati on $200k a year.

        • Yea this is definitely kickback money. Perrottet seems to currently be in that safe spot of being accepted and mostly ignored, but I expect he'll exit with the usual cloud of dodgy enquiries + cushy bank job.

          Kickback sidestory: Strata is another very dodgy group.
          A friend on the committee of a shared residential area (ie management for a bunch of townhouses, facilities & individually stratad apartments) recently got a quote of a few grand to remove a tree in front of an apartment building. That building strata stepped in to say they'd take care of it themselves for a mere 4x, to be charged to the building residents.
          Apparently similar things have been observed across the various strata buildings, every company openly ripping off residents.

          He told them to gtfo and got the tree down himself, fortunately.

          • @crentist:

            Strata is another very dodgy group

            100%. They work on divide and conquer. Nobody wants to pick it all up so they pick you off a little bit each from each one of you.

      • So companies routinely rip off the government and the governments solution to that is to tax us more which allows these businesses to inevitably charge more and so on. I'm guessing this is why privatisation has become more common. Either way it seems like we are getting screwed, just less directly when it's done through our taxes.

  • +14

    I thought that $20m of it was for paying off the company that owns the aboriginal flag. Actual price is $45m of tax payer money to install the flag. Ridiculous.

    • +1

      The copyright debate was somewhat resolved earlier this year, but one company - Carroll and Richardson Flagworld - still have exclusive manufacturing rights after it was bought by the federal government. I don’t agree with this particular arrangement, but it is what is and it’s reflective of fair Australian copyright law.

      As for the flagpole - they don’t just go to Bunnings and buy some PVC pipe and a bag of quickset cement wi.

      The poles - and mounts - need to withstand high wind, salt, and are quite literally lightning rods. It will also need lighting, which could require an upgrade somewhere along the way. The flags themselves are huge and cost money to maintain.

      Traffic might need to be diverted or blocked for a period, and traffic management plans take people. Sky cranes cost over $10k/hour, and the ground crew aren’t you’re typically pool installers - they will be strapped in at over 130m above the water. You only get one chance to install it.

      It’s absolutely a very good and overdue act and I can’t support this enough. The real story is how the general population of this thread can’t see the good in this.

      • +2

        At the risk of being an ignorant (profanity).. Why is it so important that spending $25m on it still warrant such support. $25m is a drop in the ocean all things considered but still…

        • +3

          Because sky News have made this a wedge issue

          • +3

            @Herbse: Its not just Sky News. Most people who i heard talking about this on my Facebook feed (which range from progressive to conservative folks) agree that the price is ridiculous.
            Its one of those things that is easy to point at and say it doesnt pass the sniff test.

            I personally would love to know who is getting this money.

      • +11

        Yeah, but at 25 million surely they’re taking the p1ss.

        • +5

          The entire bridge maintenance is only $5m per year, so I struggle to make sense of the 25m figure unless its including decades of maint and replacements.

          Kinda feels like a deliberate publicity stunt though when a public cost breakdown would instant solve the debate whichever way it falls

        • What does the flag for, "taking the p1ss" look like ?

      • +2

        "The real story is how the general population of this thread can’t see the good in this."

        I think everyone can see the good in it. The real story is that they should sit down with some Indigenous Elders and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and ask them how they would like the $25 million dollars spent.

      • I value life. And $25 million can help a lot of them.

      • +1

        Thanks for the information- very interesting, never thought about all of those elements

    • +1

      The $20million was for the copyright and was spent by the previous federal gov for all Australians to be able to use the flag on an ongoing basis. One company holds exclusive rights to produce the flag. So no it does not add and extra $20million to the cost of this project.

  • +7

    But why?

    • +1

      You have to ask that question in 2022?

      • +2

        You believe this is the best way to spend $25 million currently?

  • +12

    Clearly the guys who did the quote aren't OzBargainers.

    • +4

      Cashback didn't track properly. Them amazon excluded categories!

    • +2

      Yeah. The manager at Officeworks would have totally beaten that price.

Login or Join to leave a comment