Lord Mayor celebrates New Year in Chinatown

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has celebrated the New Year with lion dancers, firecrackers and performers in Chinatown.

The Lord Mayor was joined by Councillor Robert Kok, who organised the event and is chair of the City of Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival Advisory Group.

The Councillors greeted hundreds of people and handed out traditional lucky red packets, known as lai-see, to eager crowds in Dixon Street and Sussex Street.

"I was thrilled to welcome the new year with sounds and sights of Chinatown. I hope the year of the sheep brings prosperity and happiness to everyone in our community," said the Lord Mayor.

"Our Chinese New Year Festival attracts more than 600,000 visitors to Sydney, but it's awalys wonderful to spend time here in Haymarket to see how much it means to our local community."

In the 2011 Census, over 5% of the City of Sydney's population identified as being born in China, while 11.6% of the population nominated Chinese as one of their ancestries.

Haymarket has been home to a significant Chinese-Australian community for more than 100 years. Over the past five years the City of Sydney has been upgrading streets and laneways throughout Haymarket to help attract more visitors to the area.

In 2012 Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane were improved with wider footpaths, new street furniture and lighting, more trees and beautiful public art.

Improvements and traffic changes to Thomas Street between Hay Street and Quay Street are part of the second stage of transforming Chinatown.

The design for the area includes a new public space on Thomas Street between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane, widened footpaths, more street trees and furniture, new paving materials and timed street closures.

The Lord Mayor's acknowledged the continuing contribution Haymarket businesses and community members makes to Sydney's New Year celebrations.

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