Surry Hills Festival Opening

(11.15am, Saturday 27 October, Prince Alfred Park)

Thank you, Sara [Lubowitz, Chair SH Neighbourhood Centre] and hello, everyone. Welcome to the official opening of the 2012 Surry Hills Festival.

I'd like firstly 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.

Today, I'd also like to acknowledge the Hon Tanya Plibersek, MP, the Member for Sydney, and to welcome all the locals and the friends of Surry Hills here today.

Welcome to the official opening of the 2012 Surry Hills Festival. It's great to welcome the Festival back to Prince Alfred Park and to see the strong emphasis on sustainability.

The $18-million park renewal includes upgraded paths, a creative children's playground and five new tennis courts with international-standard surfaces.

There are two basketball courts as well as new park furniture and energy efficient lighting. A 250,000 litre stormwater tank supplies 95 per cent of the park's water needs.

The native meadow along Cleveland Street and throughout the park support biodiversity and new trees plantings enhance the park's character.

We've created areas for playing, seating and picnicking and, as you can see, we're working on the pool. The pool will be temperature-controlled - open year-round - with a ramp for easy access.

The plant room can accommodate tri-generation or co-generation and this means the park, pool and Coronation Centre can be taken off the energy grid in the future.

The landscaping folds over the facilities building and the tall palms circle a special play area with water toys for children. Landscaped mounds and yellow umbrellas will provide shady relaxation and sitting areas. A new café/kiosk will service both park and pool users.

The whole festival is powered by biodiesel, there's a waste management program in place and we've teamed with the festival to create a Sustainability Hub where you can pick up some great tips on living more sustainably.

The festival has also partnered this year with the Sydney Rides festival - some of you might have taken advantage of the bike valet-parking, and there's also the opportunity to get a free tune-up for your bike or tips on safe cycling in Sydney.

In addition, of course, there are fantastic music, performance art, installations and living paintings to be enjoyed - all part of the vibrant creative life of Surry Hills.

Although the City's work here in this park is not quite finished, I think you'll all agree it makes a superb setting for this wonderful festival.

There are great areas for active and passive recreation, and the native meadow along Cleveland Street is a haven for bird and animal life.

This festival is the major fund-raiser for the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre so please be generous in your support.

And please join me in a big thank-you to the many, many volunteers, to the entertainers and the local businesses who donate their time, their skills and services to this great community festival.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Thank you.