(6.45pm, Wednesday 8 May 2013, NG Art Gallery, Chippendale)
Thank you, Nicky [Ginsberg]. Hello, everyone. 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.
Tonight, I also want to acknowledge Dr Stanley Quek of Frasers' Property, who have worked with the City on making the Central Park development an asset for Chippendale, including extensive, high-quality open space.
Badly handled, development on such a scale could have been disastrous for the residents and small businesses of Chippendale. Instead, it has been the catalyst for a striking revitalisation of this once-forgotten suburb.
Dr Quek himself has gone a step further, personally offering a very generous $100,000 donation for what will be known as the Chippendale New World Art Prize. This is a wonderful opportunity for the City's artists, and a wonderful way to put Chippendale in the public eye as Sydney's dynamic new arts precinct.
On behalf of the City, and of all of us, I would like to thank him for his generosity. It really is a fantastic contribution to Sydney's cultural life.
His generosity has also extended to sponsorship of the BEAMS Arts Festival, which the City has also supported since its inception last year.
That festival was the brainchild of Nicky and the Chippendale Creative Precinct partners - an energetic lot who well deserve our support.
They're actively raising the profile of Chippendale, bringing new audiences into the area - and with those audiences, new businesses attracted by a still relatively-affordable inner-city location. Suddenly, there are cafes and a rich network of small creative businesses and an exciting buzz developing.
Last September, the first BEAMS Art Festival brought between five and eight thousand people into Chippendale. This year, it will spread its net even wider, to bring in creative types from across Sydney for what they call "the one bright night".
This year, they're also expanding their range of activities, with the New World Art Prize, a street party and a chance to revisit the past with a Forsaken Chippendale event.
These will give tremendous exposure to their sponsors and help develop a sustainable local economy in Chippendale.
This doesn't just benefit local businesses. Sydney as a whole also benefits. All the world's great cities have their distinctive neighbourhoods and a rich diversity of offerings. Sydney should be no exception.
After all, we have the entrepreneurial spirits, we have the many gifted creative people - whether artists, designers, architects, chefs, composers - and we have the audiences keen to savour their skills.
We also have the great educational institutions - and Chippendale is fortunate in having three of them on its borders: UTS, the University of Sydney, and the University of Notre Dame.
So it's an inspired stroke for the Chippendale Creative Precinct to offer internships to students across a whole range of studies, whether business, events, creative arts, marketing, media and others.
The members of the Chippendale Creative Precinct are putting into dynamic practice some of the principles the City outlined in Sustainable Sydney 2030.
They are working with government and with private enterprise, involving their local community, drawing on its talents and building on its strengths to create a vibrant, distinctive culture that will be a base for a sustainable local economy as well as an ornament to the City as a whole.
Nicky has often touted Chippendale as Sydney's future answer to New York's Chelsea arts district.
I'd like to think the day is not so far off when the name "Chippendale" will have its own resonance - throughout Australia and internationally, when it will need no comparison with anywhere else but will be distinctly and wonderfully itself.
With the energy, flair, insight and determination that's brought the area so far in just three years, that is, I think, a most realistic hope, With your help, I am convinced it can happen.