(8pm, Thursday 6 June 2013, Hassell, Pier 8/9 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay)
Thank you, Ken [Maher].
Hello, everyone, and apologies for my late arrival. I had another function I had to go to first. I'd like 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.
I'm pleased to be here this evening for a number of reasons.
Firstly, to congratulate Hassell on your 75th anniversary. Not that longevity alone matters - rather, it's what the group has achieved and the standards of excellence it has established over that time that should be recognised.
When Ken was awarded the Institute's Gold Medal in 2009, he told an interviewer that he felt Sydney's architectural culture was not as vigorous as it should be. He didn't feel there was the political or public recognition that - and I quote - "good design is really critical".
Well it is to us at the City, and I think our work to date gives the proof of that. As is the fact that we established a Design Advisory Panel comprised of a group of outstanding practitioners, chaired by one Ken Maher, to help us! You can't get out of it now, Ken!
Their work is supported by our Public Art Advisory Panel and together, these groups of eminent practitioners are helping us create the outstanding buildings, parks and public spaces that reflect a unique Sydney identity, that foster pride in our city and bring people pleasure and delight.
Well-designed, sustainable and - beautiful public spaces not only improve the look of the City but add enormously to the quality of people's lives. They also contribute enormously to the vitality and buzz of the city, and help foster a robust and diverse economy.
So a second reason to be here this evening is to thank Ken and all our panel members for their fantastic contribution.
Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy identifies a number of special precincts across the LGA. This Walsh Bay area is included as part of a Cultural Ribbon stretching from the Art Gallery and Opera House around to Barangaroo.
With music, drama and dance long established here, it's great to see that, with Hassell's re-location here, the "mother of all the arts" is now making her presence felt!
So that is another reason to celebrate.
And finally, making our Cultural Ribbon come alive and alight, we have the fantastic installations for VIVID which Hassell have installed just outside. They really are superb, so congratulations to their creators.
And congratulations to Hassell on your 75th anniversary. I hope you will all continue to contribute to the discussion and creation of a truly wonderful city.