(12pm March 28 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art)
Thank you, Simon Mordant, MC. Good afternoon, everyone. I would like 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 200 nationalities who make up our city.
I also acknowledge the Hon Barry O'Farrell, Premier of NSW, and the Hon Simon Crean, MP as Minister for the Arts.
And of course, Liz-Ann Macgregor whose enthusiasm, determination, persuasive powers and diplomatic skills have helped a long-promised dream become a reality.
No government official State, Federal, or City was safe passing through any corridor or airport while Liz Anne was on her crusade to achieve what we are celebrating today.
Funding for the new wing is the result of successful partnership which brought together all levels of government, the corporate sector and private donors. And special appreciation goes to Simon Mordant after whom the new wing is named.
Sydney now has not merely a space for contemporary art but an outstanding centre for looking, for listening and learning that will become the new hub for contemporary art in Australia.
It speaks clearly of Sydney's future as a global city in the Asia-Pacific; of its confidence as a lively and sustainable community; of its willingness to embrace the new; of its openness to the world and of its commitment to the arts - especially the art of our times.
Increasingly, we are asked to make the case for art in terms of its economic benefits. Only last week, a visiting economist from Britain's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts reiterated that message.
And of course, the arts do make a welcome contribution to the local economy.
But I believe we need to stand up for the arts for themselves; for the role they play in enriching our cultural life; in educating us and fostering international exchange; in engaging, provoking and stimulating all of us who come to them with an open mind and a willingness to engage.
The MCA I believe embodies those attributes and this marvellous new wing is testimony to those values - as is the support from all levels of government, from individuals, foundations and the corporate sector that together, has made it possible.
I'd like to congratulate the architect, Sam Marshall, and all those who've worked to bring us this fabulous addition to our City.