Australian Design Centre Opening

(6.15pm, 101-115 William Street, Darlinghurst)

Thank you, Steve [Pozel, director] and hello, everyone. Welcome to this fabulous new centre on William Street.

It is very exciting to be joining you for the opening of the new Australian Design Centre which has become the newest addition to our William Street Creative Hub and we're pleased to support - via our Accommodation Grants Program - the great work you do promoting contemporary Australian craft and design.

We're also celebrating the 50th anniversary of Object, which has grown over those years into a great Australian institution. In promoting and celebrating the work of Australian designers, it has played a seminal role in developing an authentic and flourishing design culture in this country - a design culture to be proud of.

You can see it in this exhibition featuring the first 50 honorees of Object's Australian design Honours program - and I feel very honoured to be included among them in this inaugural program.

Since 2004, the City has made a strong commitment to architecture and design because they make such an important contribution to creating the sort of city people want to work in, live in and visit. To this end we established a Design Advisory Panel which is made up of some of Sydney's best architects, landscape architects, designers and arts professionals, and it has played an important part in helping us achieve our goal.

The Panel has assessed and offered advice on more than 50 City of Sydney projects, and over 80 private sector developments. And I also want to pay tribute to our own our great team of planners, architects and urban designers under the leadership of Graham Jahn, Bridget Smyth and our design excellence process.

We're seeing the results of our work in a slew of awards - and more importantly, we're seeing them on the streets of the city, in our parks and facilities in the way people can enjoy moving around the city, exploring and take pleasure in simply being in it.

Our commitment manifests itself in a range of ways: we help artists into affordable work and exhibition spaces, we offer grants for cultural projects, we produce our own public art program and the annual Art + About festival, now expanded into a year-long program.

We also have a Public Art Advisory Panel and our Creative City Cultural Policy and Action Plan, our Public Art strategy and other programs are stimulating and supporting cultural life in Sydney - not just in galleries, stages and museums, but out on the streets, in the laneways and other unexpected places.

And we acknowledged the importance of creativity when we turned council-owned properties on Oxford Street - and later these spaces on William Street - into studio spaces for start-ups and young creatives. Some also have living and/or gallery spaces attached.

So it is fantastic to have such a high-profile organisation join the mix. At 50 years old, Object hardly qualifies as a start-up but it does bring a constant stream of young talent to notice.

It provides a new reason for people to explore William Street and Barnett Lane and the three shopfronts will enlarge its space but also expand its profile and public engagement.

I'd like to congratulate Object - and Those Architects, who were the creators of this space - on this exciting new space. It will be a gallery, a creative workspace and a live workshop which will really make a mark on this street.

So welcome to you all, congratulations on 50 years very well spent, and like the Sydney design community - indeed the Sydney community generally - I look forward to your next 50 years!