(7pm February 14 2012, Lord Mayor's Reception Room)
Hello, everyone, and 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 - including, of course, our Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities with whom we have just celebrated the Lunar New Year.
Once again, it has been an outstanding success, and I think this year's Twilight Parade, with those stunning light projections on buildings along the route, was the most spectacular yet - and it was certainly appreciated by all those who came out to watch and cheer the performers on.
The media coverage - both in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, and coverage of the parade itself - reflected the public enthusiasm. It was extensive and warmly appreciative, especially in television and the major metropolitan outlets, firmly marking the celebrations as a must-see part of the Sydney calendar.
We've also had an engaging line-up of events and activities, from the Belmore Park markets to the traditional dragon boat races to a stunning exhibition in Town Hall of established and emerging artists from China.
Last November, as a precursor to Chinese New Year, Deputy Lord Mayor Robert Kok led a media delegation and three City staff to Chengdu.
Reporters from The Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph, News Local and Time Out plus a crew from SBS Mandarin joined the three-day trip which included Chengdu's high-tech zone - including a stop at ANZ's back-office operations centre, and meetings with the management of Tianfu High Tech Software park.
They also met with city leaders to discuss urban planning in Chengdu, including Zaha Hadid's scheme for the Chengdu Contemporary Arts Centre, which will be the largest cultural building in China.
In Sydney on January 30, we reciprocated with a very successful Business Forum with high-level delegates from Chengdu meeting their Sydney counterparts to exchange ideas and discuss possible future co-operation.
The Chinese New Year Festival has become as stimulating and diverse as our Asian communities themselves, and it has become a landmark and much-loved Sydney institution.
Like our other events and festivals, it relies heavily on the generosity of our partners and sponsors who help our terrific City team to deliver a safe, entertaining and outstanding event.
Tonight, it's our opportunity to thank you all.
- To our Principal Sponsor, Medibank, who've been associated with the event for seven years now
- to Major Sponsors Volkswagen Group Australia (who supplied all the parade vehicles), new partners St George Bank and AYAM, and to The Star
- to Media Partners, The Daily Telegraph, SBS, TVB and 2UE
- our Supply and Supporting Sponsors, Bannershop and Lebara Mobile
- our Government partner, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
- our Corporate partners, Sydney's Paddy's Markets, who've been behind this event for 12 years and also Slater & Gordon, Mandylights, Race Tech Australia and finally
- to our Charity partner, the Taronga Zoo Foundation.
Thank you all for making Chinese New Year the great event that it is. And now please enjoy this evening.