Sydney's ongoing engagement in Asia, particularly with China, is a key to maintaining our global standing. This encompasses more than our economic ties. It also extends to civic, social, educational, environmental and cultural links.
This week I am hosting two important events to strengthen Sydney's relationship with China.
On Monday morning I was proud to open the Sydney China Business Forum. Now in its fourth year, the forum is one of the leading events to focus on trade between Australia and China. This year, the focus is on Australia-China partnerships in financial services.
As Australia's financial capital and global city, Sydney is home to the headquarters for 40 per cent of the top 500 Australian companies. Over one-fifth of all Australian employment in financial and insurances services is found in the City of Sydney.
Most global banks and financial institutions operating in Australia have headquarters or offices in central Sydney, and China's top five commercial banks are all located here. Sydney's new status as a trading centre for renminbi will bolster our position as a financial power.
A closer financial relationship between our two countries presents enormous opportunities. By hosting this annual forum the City of Sydney is making a practical contribution to that goal.
The forum was coordinated by the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence spoke powerfully about the need for Australia to move beyond an economic relationship based on the resources sector to one based on knowledge and innovation.
This week I also be welcomed the Governor of Hubei Provence, Mr Wang Guosheng, and a delegation of officials, to Sydney Town Hall. We will be discussing ways for Sydney and Hubei to deepen our relationship.
I visited Hubei's capital city, Wuhan, on my recent trip to China. Wuhan is a city of almost 10 million people with no less than 11,000 construction sites under development.
When I met the Mayor of Wuhan, Mr Tang Liangzhi, he told me that their plan for the future, Wuhan 2049, was developed after much research - including a study of our Sydney's own Sustainable Sydney 2030. While in Wuhan, I signed a MOU agreeing to establish a Friendship City agreement with our City.
While in Wuhan I also met with the Vice Governor of Hubei, Madame Zhang Daili, who is responsible for the Hubei province - 17 cities with around 60 million people. I welcomed Madame Zhang to Sydney this June when she visited Town Hall as part of a trade delegation to Australia.
During my recent visit to China, I was particularly inspired by the strong progress China is making to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I welcome the new ambitious emissions reduction targets announced recently between China and the United States.
This meeting was an opportunity to talk about how Sydney may contribute to this work, as well as other ways to connect with Hubei.
This week's finalisation of a Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia should create even more opportunities for us to build on our already strong relationship. The City will continue to invest in local and global initiatives to ensure a stable, prosperous and sustainable global future for Sydney.
(Image top, left to right): Cr Robert Kok; His Excellency Mr Li Huaxin, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney; Lord Mayor Clover Moore; Governor Wang Guosheng, Governor, Hubei Provincial People's Government, Mr Wang Xiangxi, Secretary General, Hubei Provincial People's Government, Ms Yan Puliu, Director General, Hubei Provincial Foreign Affairs Office; Mr Wang Dongfeng, Deputy Director General, Department of Science & Technology, Hubei Provincial People's Government; Mr Zhu Hanqiao, Director General, Hubei Agricultural Reclamation Management Bureau)