Design Excellence Forum - Reg Mombassa

(6.30pm, Thursday 10 October 2013, Lower Town Hall)

Hello, everyone, welcome to our forum, tonight devoted to "the 'M' word - music, Mentals, Mambo and Mombassa." I'd 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.

We're delighted to welcome Reg Mombassa, our 2013 New Year's Eve creative ambassador, to the City. I also offer a warm welcome that other man of many talents, writer, broadcaster and musician James Valentine, who'll be delving into the many facets of Reg, his life and career.

Sydney can boast any number of creative spirits, and we are keen to foster their work and involve them in the life and activities of our City.

We do that through making spaces available at affordable rents, as we have in Council-owned properties at William and Oxford Streets.

We do it through Design Excellence forums, like this one. We do it through our creation of a Design Advisory Panel and a Public Art Advisory Panel, both of which include some of Sydney's best creative and design thinkers, and through events such as Art & About which draw on local creativity and stimulate awareness and debate.

We're also looking for ways to support and encourage live music in the City and we're developing a Creative City policy that will help us to build a rich and diverse creativity across the City.

It will ensure that Sydney will continue to attract, and support, fabulous talents like Reg Mombassa who will shape our identity and build our reputation as one of the world's most liveable, and enjoyable cities.

Reg originally came to us from across The Ditch in New Zealand but his work as an artist, musician, creative force at Mambo, contributor to the 2000 Olympics closing ceremony is so much part of the Sydney ethos that we can't think of him as anything other than "one of us".

So please give a warm welcome to the man Mambo described as: "Musician, painter, writer, poet, humanist, sage, dispenser of arcane wisdom, buggerer of sacred cows, and much loved national treasure…" Reg Mombassa.