(7pm, Friday 5 March 2013, Lord Mayors Reception Room)
Hello, everyone, I'm pleased you could be with us this evening. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.
I welcome you all here this evening, and I'd like to acknowledge our CEO, Monica Barone, Cr Robert Kok who chairs our Chinese New Year Advisory Committee and Ann Hoban Director City Life.
Multicultural Sydney was out in force in February as everyone joined our Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities celebrating the Lunar New Year.
In recent years, it has become a "must-see" fixture on the Sydney calendar and a great celebration of the Sydney spirit. It's also a great expression of the vigour and enterprise of our Asian communities.
This 17th festival, celebrating the Year of the Water Snake, was no exception and we were lucky that the weather held to give us a fabulous evening for the Twilight Parade.
This year, we welcomed a delegation from Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong Province, and China's largest land-passenger port. They were a fantastic presence in the parade.
There were all the regular events, including the New Year Market in Belmore Park, and the Dragon Boat races which concluded the festival.
There were also a series of fabulous new events: we revived the traditional Dragon Ball on a magical night in Centennial Hall; there was an outstanding art exhibition in Lower Town Hall featuring artists from Australia, China, Vietnam and Korea.
And in another new event, there were Lunar Feasts served up in restaurants across the CBD for the festival's duration.
We enjoyed strong media support, both in the lead-up to the festival and in covering individual events and I'm sure you all saw at least some of the generous coverage.
But none of it, of course, would have been possible without your support, and on behalf of the City, and our city communities, I thank you all. And it's only fitting that I thank you individually:
- Our Principal Sponsor, Medibank, in the eighth year of sponsorship
- Our Major Sponsors, The Star and AYAM
- Our Media Partners, The Daily Telegraph, SBS, TVBA and 2DayFM
- Our Government Partner, the Sydney Harbour and Foreshore Authority
- Our Supporting Sponsors, Holden, Nestea, Lebara Mobile, Sydney Airport and Sydney's Paddy's Markets and
- Our Corporate Sponsors, Slater & Gordon, AMH, Race-Tech, Mandy Lights and Oxford Communications Group
- Our Festival Charity Partner, the Taronga Foundation
Thanks also to Festival Director Gill Minervini, our wonderful Events team, and the New Year Festival advisory group.
Thank you all for once again helping us present the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside Asia, and one of the best loved. And now, please enjoy this evening.