(7.45pm 14 November 2011, St Vincent's Hospital Xavier Garden)
Thank you, Chris Bath, MC. Good evening, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
I would also like to acknowledge Bishop Brady; Jonathan Anderson, Executive Director of St Vincent's Public Health Service; Professor Allan Spigelman; Sister Anthea Groves, and Michele Marco for her courage, and her heartfelt tribute to the St Vincent's team.
I can only concur with everything she has said. As a local MP, as well as in my role as Lord Mayor, I've had a long association with St Vincent's. And like anyone who has witnessed the work done in here by the Sisters of Charity, the medical and nursing staff, the researchers, I have a deep respect for their achievements and their approach.
As I've heard said here many times, recovery is a team effort, and it must involve the whole person. Here, science and medicine walk hand in hand with humanity and compassion.
It is part of what makes St Vincent's such an outstanding hospital. It is part of what attracts such high-calibre staff - at every level of the organisation. And it's what inspires such confidence in the patients they care for.
I'm really proud that Sydney can boast an institution of the calibre of St Vincent's. It has all the qualities we want our city to represent: leadership, innovation, a striving for excellence matched with a deep commitment to compassion and inclusion.
It deserves our support and the St Vincent's Tree of Life is one practical way we can demonstrate that.
As its motto says, the Tree of Life celebrates life lived, life helped and life saved. And it asks for our support to help that work continue, through funding for research, equipment and patient care.
I'm sure everyone here tonight, as we move towards the Christmas season, will want to support this cause of hope and healing.
And now, I have the pleasure of switching on the lights for this inspirational Tree of Life.