Naidoc Morning Tea

(10.30am 26 July 2012, Reception Room, Sydney Town Hall)

Good morning, everyone. Welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to the Elders.

I'm pleased you could all be here to celebrate another wonderful NAIDOC Week, celebrating the special place of indigenous culture in Australia - and in Sydney.

We underlined our commitment to NAIDOC Week this year by moving the venue for the opening events from Redfern to Hyde Park North. Redfern, of course, will always play a huge part in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture but it's also important that we put that culture right at the heart of our City - and that's where Hyde Park sits.

I think everyone had a fantastic time there.

As always, there were masses of events, films, talks and exhibitions right across the City and major cultural institutions like the Opera House, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Australian Museum, the Museum of Sydney and the Rocks Discovery Museum all hosted activities.

There were art and hip hop classes at Tranby, there were walking tours and an Elders' lunch at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.

There were also wonderful community-organised family events. So Special thanks to Kate Brennan, the Glebe Schools Community Centre and the Glebe NAIDOC Committee for the Glebe Family Day.

Thanks also to Sara Hamilton, the NCIE and the Inner City NAIDOC Committee for the Family and Sports Day at Redfern and to Kay Dundas, Katie Isaia-Hardy and the staff at Walla Mulla for the Woolloomooloo Family Day.

Together, these three events brought pleasure to thousands with free food, entertainment and lots of fun.

I also would like to thank the Metro Local Aboriginal Land Council, Paul Morris and staff for organising the NAIDOC Awards at Redfern Community Centre, and to thank Glebe Youth Service, Weave Youth Services and all the other youth organisations which produced a host of activities during the week.

In look back at the 40 years of the Tent Embassy, this year's NAIDOC also was an emphatic statement that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is a vibrant, living culture that has a proud place in our City.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to its success, who took part and helped underline the vitality and the range of indigenous culture.