Aurora Dinner 2013

(6pm, Saturday 22 June 2013, Sydney Town Hall)

Thank you, Gretel [Killeen, MC], and hello, everyone - welcome back to Town Hall! I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

Tonight, I'd also like to welcome Aurora's new chairperson, Adam Niewand, a director of the Aurora Board for over three years, and to pay tribute to outgoing chair, Marcus Bourget, who has stepped down due to increased work commitment but who remains on the Board as an associate director.

And I pay tribute to all those who've worked over the past 14 years to stage this event, which this year marks not only International Stonewall Day but also toasts the 35th Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

One of the great strengths of the GLBT community is its ethos of self-help and genuine spirit of community.

Aurora - through this dinner and its year-round series of events - is a great exemplar of that, supporting people and causes across NSW. Just in the past year, it has donated a total of $60,000 towards the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service, to Twenty 10 GLBT Youth Support, and six other worthwhile projects.

It also supports a wide range of activities and groups through its Small Grants program, from a team sports program to a self-defence course for young people.

Tonight is its major fund-raiser for the year, so I hope - I know! - you will be generous in your support of the raffles and auctions.

We're pleased to support Aurora's work, underwriting the venue hire cost and providing two tickets to our Sydney New Year's Eve at the Opera House, so I'll look forward to greeting two lucky winners there on December 31.

As the theme for this evening says, it's Yesterday Once More and there's the opportunity to outdazzle Baz Luhrmann and recall the era when Town Hall hosted the bohemian splendour of the Artists' Ball.

If the moral guardians of the day condemned the "unseemly conduct" of these balls, the participants all had a fabulous time - as I'm sure you all will this evening.

On behalf of the City, let me congratulate Aurora, and all those involved in putting together tonight's fabulous show. And once again, I thank you for the terrific and generous-spirited work that you do. Have a great night, everyone.