(10am, Saturday 1 February, Customs House)
Good morning, everyone, and welcome.
This is an important moment for all of us - for newDemocracy Foundation, for you, the jury members, for those of us at Council or in government - and, I hope, for the people of Sydney we hope you may help find solutions to a very complex problem.
This Council is firmly committed to consulting our communities and seek to do it in many ways - community meetings; round tables; surveys at 2am; vox pops, etc.
I have enormous faith in the sense and goodwill of most people. And those qualities will be able to be exercised in these forums, without an imposed agenda or directions from a facilitator, untrammelled by political allegiance, policy commitment, or the pressure of lobbyists and interest groups.
You choose what access you need and get the expert advice of your choice - from a range of info, research and hearing from a whole range of people.
We believe Sydney can have a rich and vibrant night life that is also safe for everyone.
Indeed, we're asking you to come up with at least five recommendations that will help us balance safety and personal freedom while delivering real actions that will ensure a safer late-night culture.
The City is formally committed to considering each of your recommendations, and I will attend your final session on April 9 to discuss them with you.
The Premier has also agreed that your recommendations will be taken to Parliament, unaltered and unedited.
We are sharing the bulk of the funding with the Government. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation for proposing this Citizens' Jury and for their support.
As Ralph Kelly, its founding director has said, this is an extremely complex issue, with all sorts of conflicting politics and interests. But he believes there can be a sensible and informed conversation which the powers-that-be will listen to.
The City shares that belief, and we warmly welcome your participation, and wish you all the very best in your deliberations.