(6pm 29 January 2012, Sydney Town Hall)
Good evening, everyone. Welcome to Town Hall and to this evening's parade. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of the 200 nationalities who live in our City.
I'm pleased to welcome:
- The Hon Barry O'Farrell, Premier of NSW
- H.E. Mr CHEN Yuming - Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Australia
- His Excellency Duan Jielong, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney
- Mr Mao Zhixiong, Deputy Mayor of Chengdu
- Councillor Robert Kok, Deputy Lord Mayor, Chair, Chinese New Year Festival Advisory Group
- Maurice L. Newman, AC, Chairman of the Taronga Foundation
- Our Festival Ambassador Lawrence Leung, and
- Clr Phillip Black, Clr John McInerney, Clr Di Tornai Clr Irene Doutney and Clr Chris Harris.
A special welcome to our Sydney Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities, all celebrating Lunar New Year.
This is the City of Sydney's 16th Chinese New Year Festival and this year is the Year of the Dragon, one of the most powerful and lucky signs in the Chinese zodiac. Let us take this as a good omen for our city and its communities.
We hope you'll enjoy the dazzling Parade with almost 3000 performers, with spectacular floats and costumes, it's our biggest ever. And we have a new element tonight in the stunning building projections you'll see along the Parade route.
Please join me in giving a warm Sydney welcome to this year's visitors who come to us from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan [see-shwan] province in south-west China who have brought a wonderful contingent to this evening's parade.
If you want to see more of the Chengdu performers after tonight, you can also see them in performance here at Town Hall tomorrow evening.
And please join me in thanking:
- the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney, especially His Excellency, Duan Jielong, for their help in bringing our international participants to the Festival
- the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China and
- the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office
- our Principal Sponsor, Medibank
- our Major Sponsors, Volkswagen Group Australia, The Star, St George and AYAM
- our Media Partners, the Daily Telegraph, SBS, TVBA and 2UE
- our Government Partner, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
- our Supply Partners, Bannershop and Lebara
- our Corporate Partners, Sydney's Paddy's Markets, Slater & Gordon, Mandy Lights and Racetech Australia
- the many Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese community associations, arts organisations and individuals
- with special thanks to Deputy Lord Mayor Robert Kok, of our Chinese New Year Festival Advisory Group, and finally
- the brilliant City of Sydney Events Team who every year do an extraordinary job in bringing this amazing Festival to our City.
Thank you all. And I wish everyone here a fantastic Year of the Water Dragon. Kung Hei Fat Choy!