Thank you, Glenn Wheeler and good evening, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
I would also like to acknowledge Mr Fu Hao, Economic and Commercial Consul of the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney. I also acknowledge Victor Dominello, MP, Minister for Communities and Citizenship and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Brad Chan, chairman of the Chamber and fellow councillors of the City of Sydney.
Congratulations to all those involved in the formation of the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce. Your foresight was well-founded and you have certainly helped the City in drawing up our public domain plans for this unique and vital part of Sydney.
Almost 10 per cent of the City's population have Chinese ancestry, and one in every 12 of our residents is a Chinese speaker.
In recent years, our annual Chinese New Year celebrations have mushroomed from a small market fair into the largest Lunar New Year festival outside Asia - one that attracts an annual visiting troupe from China, as well as an ever-growing crowd of Sydneysiders entranced by the Twilight Parade. And although the celebrations are not confined to Chinatown, this area nonetheless remains the symbolic heart.
Tourism NSW tells us that Chinatown attracts over 1.1 million domestic visitors each year, and 1.4 million international visitors.
In 2007, a study showed that Chinatown ranked as the number one precinct outside the CBD itself in terms of interest and accessibility. That meant it outranked such well-known precincts as Paddington and Surry Hills - testimony to its central importance in the life and character of Sydney.
Many of your members were closely involved in helping us develop the Chinatown Public Domain Strategy to be implemented over five years. We are starting this year with improvements to three streets - Kimber Lane, Factory Street and Little Hay Street.
New lighting, paving and seating will create outdoor spaces for people to meet and mingle and allow the vitality of Dixon Street to bubble through the whole precinct.
In August, we'll start construction on the pagoda on Dixon Street which will be converted as an information kiosk for visitors and the community in time for the 2012 Chinese New Year.
Over the next few years we will also carry out comprehensive improvements to Thomas, Hay and Dixon Streets and there will be tree plantings and other improvements across Chinatown.
I look forward to continuing to work with you all to ensure that Sydney's Chinatown becomes one of the world's liveliest and most outstanding Chinatowns.