(Lord Mayor's Reception Room)
Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
I welcome the Councillors here this evening, and the City's CEO, Monica Barone. In particular, though, I welcome the almost 60 staff who volunteered to help out after the Queensland floods, and of course their partners and families here tonight.
This is our "thank-you" to you for doing such a great job and for being such brilliant representatives of the City of Sydney.
You volunteered from Health and Building, Cleansing and Waste, Civil Engineering; from the Stone Yard and Parks and Plumbing teams, and also from Fleet Services who kept our vehicles on the road and in between times, worked as labourers. And yes, some managers went too and also got their hands dirty!
It must have been very tough: very long days in 30-plus temperatures, and 90 per cent humidity, working in heavily inundated areas like Rocklea, contaminated with sewage and industrial and chemical pollutants.
You worked with Brisbane City staff over a widespread area, from the central almost as far out as Ipswich.
It must have been hot and stinking and unrelenting. But you sent a great message of support for our northern neighbours at a time when they desperately needed practical help and a sense of solidarity.
It makes me enormously proud of our organisation, where there is such a wealth of practical skills and a spirit of generosity.
As you know, the City also donated $200,000 to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal.
It's your work though, that builds a community that reasserts our values as people, that says our common humanity is the most important thing we share.
I know that many of you felt the value of your contribution when Queenslanders thanked you as you carried away the detritus from their ruined homes, or even leapt from their cars when they spotted the City of Sydney logo to express their gratitude.
You didn't go looking for thanks - you went out of your own goodness and generosity. Nonetheless, on behalf of all of us here at the City, I, too, would like to thank you. You did us all proud.
Now please stay and enjoy this evening.