Sydney China Business Forum

(9am, Tuesday 29 October 2013, Centennial Hall)

Good morning, everyone. A very warm welcome to Sydney, and to the 2013 Sydney-China Business Forum. The theme for this year's forum - Building a Sustainable Future Together - is one that the City wholeheartedly embraces.

Since 2004, we have been working towards a sustainable future for this City - a future outlined in our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy, which has been overwhelmingly endorsed by our residents and by the many small and large companies that make up our thriving business sector.

 

The strategy is helping us develop world-leading systems to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, conserve and re-use water and recycle waste. Increasingly, cities are in the forefront of the drive to sustainability, and we are forging links with cities around the world to learn from them and to share our knowledge.

So many of the tools to reduce our impact on global climate lie in the hands of city governments who can provide national governments with proven ways in which to meet the challenge of climate change.

We know, through our regular forums with Chinese provincial governments as part of our annual Chinese New Year celebrations, of the great work that is being done there to deal with climate change.

Our guests might be amused to learn that we are taking inspiration from what was once a traditional form of transport in China to introduce a network of bicycle lanes across the City to reduce pollution and traffic congestion. Perhaps we can re-export that concept back to its homeland!

Historically, Sydney has had long connections with China, and today, people of Chinese ancestry make up about 6 per cent of the population of metropolitan Sydney and almost 10 per cent of the City's population. Indeed, over half of all Australians born in China actually live in Sydney.

Chinese is now the most common language spoken at home after English, and China's trade with the Sydney metro area is estimated at around $A10 billion a year. Already, over 60 per cent of Chinese business visitors to Australia come to Sydney.

Sydney's position as Australia's gateway for global business, our relative proximity and similar time zones help strengthen our economic ties.

We are strategically placed to link the world's fastest growing economy with South Asia and the Pacific - an advantage that has been recognised by the growing number of Chinese financial institutions which base their regional headquarters in Sydney.

Sydney is Australia's centre of finance and business services, and there are also opportunities in education, in architecture and design, and increasingly in green technology, urban planning, water and air quality and waste management.

These are issues that this Forum will be examining and it will, I hope, be a productive and informative one for all of you.

Once again, a very warm welcome to our visitors, and I'm pleased to declare the 2013 Sydney China Business Forum officially open.