Australian Business Arts Foundation (ABAF) Partner Thankyou Lunch

(Town Hall)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Town Hall. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I also welcome Terry Campbell, AO, ABAF Chairman; David Sleet from the GPT Group and Marcus Westbury from Renew Newcastle, winners of ABAF Partnership of the Year 2010; and the winners of the City of Sydney Encouragement Award 2010 - the Queen Street Studio and Frasers' Property Australia.

This is our chance to acknowledge and thank all the foundation's 2010 partners and supporters. The synergies developed between government, the private sector and the cultural community help define the ethos of a city and increasingly, help to support its economy.

Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy explicitly recognises this crucial role of art and culture. It acknowledges the relationship between art and culture and urban vibrancy, which in turns supports and encourages a thriving knowledge economy.

It understands that art and culture play an important role in community cohesion, contributing to a safer and more harmonious city and that a diverse cultural offering will support a strong business sector.

The generosity and active involvement of the business sector is encouraging to see. The City itself has some wonderful partnerships for events as diverse as our New Year's Eve festivities, our recent Chinese New Year celebrations, and our programs to activate Sydney's laneways.

We were delighted to work with Frasers' Property to turn unused buildings on their enormous Broadway development site into studios for artists and it was obviously a similar idea that prompted Renew Newcastle to broker creative uses for vacant buildings, working with the GPT group and revitalising the centre of Newcastle.

I'm sure that you will also enjoy our next CityTalk, focused on fostering a creative and sustainable Sydney. The Sydney Theatre Company's Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton will share their ideas on fostering a green cultural precinct at Walsh Bay, with a panel discussion including Craig Allchin of Six Degrees Architects, Lisa Havilah from Eveleigh CarriageWorks and Rafael Bonachela from Sydney Dance Company.

Join us in two weeks, on Tuesday 8 March from 6.30pm—tickets are free and the full booking information is on the City's website.

According to ABAF's own survey, overall private support for the arts is increasing, even despite the GFC, topping $2012 million in 2008-09. Let's hope that the next survey, due mid-this year, confirms that trend.

The arts aren't just good for the economy - they're good for us, too, essential food for the mind and the soul, the beating pulse of a lively, engaging and successful city.

Thank you all again for your support for this vital industry.