(9.50am, Monday 24 September 2012, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour)
Good morning everyone and welcome.
I'd like to acknowledge the original custodians of our land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their elders both past and present. I also acknowledge the people of the 200 nations who live in our city.
I'd like to welcome Edward Fuller, Divisional Director of Merlin Entertainments Group and the Shark Ambassadors, Amy Smoother, Ian Gordon and Paul de Gelder.
We are here today to officially relaunch one Sydney's most loved tourist attractions - the Sydney Aquarium, now known as the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
After a nine-month, $10 million overhaul, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is home to the largest variety of sharks and rays, as well as 14 newly themed areas, including the tropical bay of rays, mangrove swamps and a discovery rockpool.
There's also an impressive 100 metres of ocean tunnel walk-though, Shark Valley, as well as Shark Walk, where you can get close - in the safest possible way - to a large variety of sharks including the Grey Nurse Shark and the Lemon Shark.
Sydney is renowned for its harbour and its beaches. Both are much loved by all of us who live here and by the many visitors who come to our city from around the world. These beautiful waters and the creatures who live in them must be cared for and sustained. I know SEA LIFE values rescue and rehabilitation, breeding and research, education and awareness and creature welfare.
This wonderful new aquarium also give us the chance to learn so much more about our marine life. It's home to an astonishing 13,000 animals from 700 different species, including sharks, dugongs, platypus, rays, penguins, turtles, clown fish and even Japanese Spider Crabs.
It takes us on a journey below the surface where we can discover the richness and diversity of life in our oceans, harbours and rivers. And by learning, we all gain an increased awareness of how important this world is to our entire eco system.
The new SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium promises to continue to be a major tourist attraction for our city -and I am thrilled to now be officially relaunching it.
Thank you everyone.