Haigh's Chocolates Opening

(5pm, Wednesday 5 December 2012, Queen Victoria Building)

Thank you, Alister [Haigh]. Hello, everyone. What a treat - and a temptation! - to be in this beautiful shop. 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.

Haigh's has only been in Sydney since 2005, although of course it was founded in Adelaide in 1915 which I believe makes it Australia's oldest, family-owned chocolate retailer. In fact, a few years ago, the company and its chocolates were accorded "heritage" status in South Australia.

So it's fitting that both its Sydney stores are located in two of our finest heritage buildings - the Strand Arcade, and now here, in the Queen Victoria Building.

And if we can get the State Government's co-operation for light-rail and a pedestrianized George Street, both buildings will be features of Sydney's finest street!

Buildings like these, and businesses like Haighs, are vital to making Sydney a rich, diverse and interesting place to live, work in and visit.

Big business might be at the heart of global Sydney, but our small and medium-sized companies are vital contributors, too.

Retail and personal services comprise almost 20 per cent of the City's businesses and employ thousands of people.

And when, like Haigh's, they base themselves around quality product and social and environmental responsibility, they help ensure our city is a place of quality, that is socially and environmentally aware.

It's great to know the company captures rainwater for use in its factory and is committed to using recycled packaging.

It also supports Healthy Rivers Australia through its chocolate fish, created to highlight the plight of native fish species and to promote healthy rivers and ecosystems. That's great work, and great to know the fish is so popular!

So congratulations, Alister, and all the Haigh family. It's great to join you for this opening.