New Year's Eve Opera House

(9.15pm 31 December 2011, Sydney Opera House)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to 2011 Sydney New Year's Eve.

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 their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who live in our City.

I don't know how he does it, but each year Fortunato Foti gives us a spectacular fireworks display - and he's just done it again! Thank you, Fortunato.

Thank you, too, to our sponsors who supported our Botanic Gardens Picnic for children with special-needs and their carers. I've just come from there and they are having a wonderful time and were waiting impatiently for the fireworks, which I'm sure they loved. I hope you all noticed the special "blue moment" which acknowledged the sesquicentenary of NSW Police - who do a great job to ensure Sydney New Year's Eve is a safe and happy event.

We've got a little longer to wait before the Midnight Fireworks which promise to be even more inspiring. Once again, our team have excelled themselves.

Now, we can all enjoy the beautiful Harbour of Light parade, which is getting underway with- at last count - 55 boats sailing past in waves of colour.

Our theme for 2011 Sydney New Year's Eve is "Time to Dream". Australia is a country built on dreams - whether the ancient Dreaming of the Aboriginal people, or the hopes and dreams of more than two centuries of migrants.

Dreams allow us all to imagine a better future and to find ways of securing that future - for ourselves and our children.

On New Year's Eve, we can dream that future into being.

And this year, we are giving practical support to CARE Australia - an organisation which has a long track record of providing swift and effective humanitarian aid and which is working in East Africa, which is facing its worst drought and food crisis in six decades with over 13 million people, mainly women and children, at risk of dying.

This is why I have established a Lord Mayor's Appeal to support the East Africa work.

Please give them your support.

2011 Sydney New Year's Eve - an event shown around the world - can boast it's a product of Australian creativity from start to finish. Our creative team, our production team, are all Australians. And tonight, for the first time, we'll have a midnight musical soundtrack that is 100 per cent Australian - written by Australian composers and performed by Australian artists.

Tonight, I thank most sincerely all our media partners and sponsors who make this great celebration happen:

  • 2DayFM, our major partner
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The NSW Government
  • Destination NSW
  • The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, The Sydney Harbour Foreshore authority
  • Transport NSW
  • NSW Maritime
  • Sydney Ports Corporation
  • The Royal Australian Navy
  • Sydney Opera House
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
  • Wellcom Group
  • Production Resource Group
  • Technical Direction Company
  • Scarborough Wines
  • Coca-Cola Amatil
  • Yellowglen
  • Ciroc
  • Crown Lager
  • The Menzies Hotel
  • The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel
  • E Group Security and
  • Action Sound.

Thank you to Simon Sandall and the kitchen of Opera Point Events for the delicious food.

I also thank our creative team - Imagination and Marc Newson (just awarded a CBE); Brian Thompson for the Bridge Effect; Aneurin Coffey, our producer; the fabulous production, technical and operation staff; the more than 50 volunteers; and all the City of Sydney staff who make this such a memorable occasion.

Sydney's New Year's Eve is a great team effort!

And now I'll raise my glass of fine Yellowglen Perle and wish you all a very happy New Year.

Enjoy the countdown to 2012.