(7.30pm 28 June 2012, 83 Glebe Point Road Glebe)
Thank you, JessBailey, owner and hello, everyone. It's great to be here with you this evening. 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 200 nationalities who call our city home.
The Cruelty Free Shop has been an on-line presence for 10 years now but Jess is bucking a trend by creating a bricks-and-mortar store as well as the on-line shop. That's great for Glebe - and an encouraging sign of the growing interest in ethical and sustainable living.
Reports from the World Health Organisation, and from the UN itself, have alerted people to the health impacts of dairy- and meat-heavy diets and, increasingly, of the environmental impacts.
And while a lot of people may find a committed vegan diet a huge challenge, many are at least taking the meat-free-day-a-week option.
The Cruelty Free Shop has become a trusted resource for these people, for vegans, vegetarians, dairy-intolerant and in fact everyone who wants to reduce their environmental impact.
If offers food choices, cosmetic options, products for the house, confectionary, items for children and babies and even pets. Every product is independently certified to be genuinely cruelty free, and as much as possible is sourced locally.
It makes what can often be a tricky and time-consuming search quick and fuss-free.
And if that's not enough, the shop supports animal rescue and animal welfare and organised the first Cruelty Free Living Festival for Animal Liberation. As one commenter on the shop's website wrote, Jess should be "Vegan of the Year" for all that she does.
Changing long-ingrained habits is a slow process and it takes people of courage and conviction to stand proudly for their beliefs. The Cruelty Free Shop does that consistently, and now with this street-front presence, it will speak to a wide audience about how to touch the earth lightly, and to respect other living creatures.
It's a wonderful new addition to Glebe Point Road and a wonderful opportunity for us all to find ways of living more ethically.
Congratulations to Jess and to everyone involved. You deserve a big success here, and I'm proud that Sydney can foster and support ethical and sustainable living. Well done!