(10.30am 4 May 2012, Lady Mayoress' Room Sydney Town Hall)
Thank you and good morning, everyone. Welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our city - especially, today, our Chinese community.
I'm also pleased to acknowledge His Excellency Duan Jielong, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China and our Deputy Lord Mayor, Cr Robert Kok, who also chairs our Chinese New Year Festival Advisory Group.
It's hard to believe but in this Year of the Dragon, the Festival celebrated its 16th anniversary and we welcomed our 6th partner city delegation, this time coming from Chengdu.
Astonishingly, the festival has grown to be the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside mainland China itself - and that's in no small part due to the enthusiasm and hard work of our fantastic advisory group, headed by Robert, and to the energy and enthusiasm of our Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities who have turned it into an annual "must-see" event for all of Sydney.
This year, there were more than 80 separate events, including of course the City's Chinese New Year Markets, our Dragon Boat races and the Twilight Parade itself.
A new element in the 2012 parade were the vibrant and animated building projections along the parade route that we are hoping to build on for future parades.
Other new features included a wonderful photographic retrospective of the parade itself, which went on show at Customs House, and an exhibition held here at Town Hall of major contemporary art from Beijing's Red Gate Gallery.
Once again, the festival enjoyed strong audience support from across Sydney, as well as widespread participation across the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities.
Its reach was even wider, as we've now estimated that the total audience reached through Australian print, radio and television coverage was a stunning 37.2 million people.
So once again can I thank Robert Kok and all the members of our advisory group, and of course, all our fabulous supporters and partners, who we will be recognising in a moment.
But first, it's my pleasure to announce the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade Award for 2012 for
Best Parade Entry, which goes to Australian Yau Kung Mun Association Inc.
Outstanding Achievement Entry, which goes to Chinese Parents of Children with a Disability.
Congratulations, and please come to accept your certificates.