(11.30am, Victoria Park)
Thank you, [MC], hello, everyone.
How wonderful to see all these Sydney dog-lovers out in force, accompanied by your animals. I've brought my own along, and I can tell you that Bessie and Buster enjoy it as much as I do.
Companion animals bring joy into people's lives; they provide an incentive to get out and enjoy all our beautiful City has to offer, and as any dog-lover will tell you, they provide a terrific way to make friends with a whole range of people in your neighbourhood or your local park.
We've increased the number of off-leash areas to give more dogs the chance to run and play freely - there are now more than 40 either fully or partially off-leash across the City. All we ask is that dog-owners respect the rules and be considerate of other park users. And don't forget the City runs free dog-obedience courses if you have a recalcitrant pet!
Doggywood reminds us of the importance of our canine friends and offers all us dog lovers an event to enjoy with each other and with our animals. It's become one of the great institutions of Fair Day, and it is with great pleasure that I declare it now officially open.
Have a great day to all of you - dogs included!