We're delighted to be launching Asia on your Doorstep for 2013.
The southern part of our City, centred on Chinatown and the Haymarket, is one of the most vibrant areas in Sydney.
Its population is growing - in fact, in the five years to 2011, it increased by over 28 per cent, compared to a 10 per cent-plus growth for the City as a whole.
By far the largest sector of that population is the young workforce, up to age 34. The majority of people are overseas born and about 80 per cent have Chinese or another Asian language as their mother tongue.
Chinatown is also one of the most heavily visited parts of Sydney, yet for years, little had been done in the way of improvements.
In 2010, Council adopted a Public Domain Plan that recognises it as a unique area, and an important cultural and social hub for residents, workers and visitors.
The Plan suggests a suite of improvements to streets and public spaces to be staged over the next 10 years.
The 10 projects will recover more public spaces for public life, increase amenity for pedestrians, and improve connections between key streets. We've already transformed Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane, and are now working on the second stage of the plan, beginning with Thomas Street in May.
We also lead Asia on your Doorstep as a month-long celebration of the many distinctive cultural cuisines that have emerged in Chinatown. It has become a key feature of Sydney's hugely popular Good Food Month.
This year's program features cooking competitions, food tours of Chinatown, Korea-town and Thai-town, special offers at leading restaurants and a fabulous transformation of Little Hay Street into a glamorous, retro evocation of 1940s Shanghai during the Friday Night Markets.
There'll be many other fantastic drawcards as well.
I thank the local business community for their enthusiastic participation and support, and I look forward to another great Asia on your Doorstep.