(12pm, Thursday 4 April 2013, Customs House)
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this exhibition launch. 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.
This is a proud moment for us. We began work on a light-rail link on George Street, from Railway Square to Circular Quay, some years ago. Our vision - as you can see here today - was always for a great civic spine with ample space for people as well as world-class shops, cafes and other facilities.
Now with the Government's commitment to light rail, that vision will become a reality.
It will be the catalyst for an incredible transformation of our city, one that will enable us to re-route the buses currently clogging George Street.
The City's Access and Transport team are already working with the State Government's experts on public transport routes, pedestrian movements, cycling, and traffic movements.
Together they are developing an agreed Access Plan for the whole City, which should be finalised in the next few months.
The City has committed $180/$220 million for the public domain works which will transform George Street with wider footpaths, trees and street furniture, fully accessible light-rail stations, and exciting and engaging public art.
These changes will improve way-finding in the city, allow properties to re-connect to a civilised street, rather than a traffic funnel, and allow Sydneysiders and visitors to pause and enjoy the City.
It's important to remember that 93 per cent of all journeys within the City are made on foot, so it's high time pedestrians got a better deal.
This is a watershed moment, one which will make a real transformation of how the City looks, works and feels.
Retailers have already been voting with their feet and moving into heritage properties along George Street. It has the potential to be one of the great streets of the world, and our fly-through and panels will show you just how fantastic it can be.
Thank you for coming here today.