"For too long Sydney has accepted the concept that we can't compete globally, that we can't compete with Melbourne in terms of our culture and cultural facilities," the premier said.

Mr Baird confirmed the package would be funded through the 49 per cent lease of the state’s electricity network which he is taking to the March 28 election.

“For some reason in the arts community and across all our cultural facilities there’s been a pleading and a hope that there would be a drip feeding of some funds to actually invest in our institutions,” he said.

“I think those days should be over.”

Opera House chief executive Louise Herron said the funds would allow the iconic venue to undergo a much needed renewal.

“(This) will enable us to bring us into the 21st century,” she said, pointing out that the Opera House contributed $775 million to the state economy every year.

She expects the work on the Concert Hall to start in 2018 and for the venue to be out of action for some time during construction.

Mr Baird also announced that $139 million would be set aside to develop the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.

The government expects the number of people visiting the precinct to more than double to two million within five years of the upgrade’s completion – up from the current 780,000 people visiting each year.