Crown Green Square

(6pm, Carriageworks Bay 17)

Thank you, Roy, [Marcellus, Crown Group] and hello, everyone.

I am delighted to be here tonight for the unveiling of Crown Green Square.

Infinity by Crown is an exciting example of the design excellence competition process that we've introduced at the City to lift design and architecture in Sydney. Together with the design community and far-sighted developers, we're building Sydney's global reputation as a city whose built environment is a fitting match for its stunning natural setting.

Plans to develop Green Square were announced in 1995, the Minister announced that the former industrial area of South Sydney would become the major urban renewal area of Sydney. By 2004 when my Independent Team were elected, the planned urban renewal was stymied by a host of difficulties:

the Town Centre was split between 18 government and private owners; residential infrastructure was poor; the land was contaminated and flooding was a major problem.

There was a lack of co-ordination and funding and no land had been set aside for public transport or other state infrastructure. So the City took the lead and from 2006, began co-ordinated planning and the delivery of infrastructure.

Infinity - on its landmark site on Botany Road and Bourke Street - is a powerful symbol of how far we've come since then, and of what this once down-at-heel industrial suburb will represent of Sydney in the future.

We have begun building the streets, parks and sporting and community facilities that will make this an outstanding place to live, work and play, with $440 million committed over the next decade to completing our vision. Work has started on a $100 million trunk drainage system that will solve the flooding issues.

At the heart of Green Square will be the new Town Centre. An international design competition for a library and public plaza was won by a young local firm, Stewart Hollenstein, with a scheme the jury chair, Glenn Murcutt, described as truly outstanding.

The DA and construction tender for that project are already approved.

We have another terrific design - again resulting from an international design competition - for an amazing ocean-pool-inspired aquatic centre with park, gym and sport field. It was won by another youngish Sydney practice, Andrew Burges Architects, with Grimshaw and TCL. Work should begin on that in early 2017.

Public art will also play a big part in establishing the character of Green Square, with the Connecting Project being commissioned to physically and conceptually unite the civic spine, linking the train station, the library and plaza, Drying Green Park, the former hospital site and the entire length of Zetland Avenue.

The hospital site itself will include a green infrastructure centre, a creative centre, a child-care centre, areas for sports, a new playground, the Matron Ruby Grant Park and art work.

The City has long argued that a light-rail extension to the area was essential and we acquired land for the corridor for that purpose, so of course we were enormously encouraged to hear the Transport Minister say this week that he wants to see light-rail extended to Green Square.

Transport is vital to a successful global city. So is a rich variety of choices for social and cultural life, and for night-time activities.

We recognise the commonality of interest between residents, the workforce and business. The sort of city which works for its residents is also the city which can attract the best global talent.

Our work has resulted in the City of Sydney becoming one of the fastest-growing residential areas in Australia.

In the next few years, as Green Square takes shape, the City's residential population is set to exceed 230,000 by 2018 while private investment in the City overall will entail an estimated $30-$40 billion in the next decade.

To make Sydney's recent economic successes on-going and sustainable, and to set the path for its continuous success well into this century - for the benefit of metropolitan Sydney, of NSW and Australia, we need to continue to aim high and to create a quality environment.

With our growing services economy, our highly-skilled workforce, and our city's physical attractions, Sydney is one of the world's most compelling global destinations. Developments like Infinity will add to that appeal, and I congratulate everyone involved in bringing it to this point.