Wrong Side of the Road' screening

(5.30pm, Friday 14 June 2013, Sydney Town Hall Reception Room)

Thank you, Rod. Hello, everyone, and I'm glad you could come to this screening. 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.

I'd like to welcome especially:

  • Michael Lobestein, CEO of the National Film & Sound Archives
    The Archives Board Members
  • Nashen Moodley, Sydney Film Festival Director
  • Sydney Film Festival Board Members
  • Councillors John Mant and Irene Doutney
  • Our own Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, and of course
  • The Cast and Crew of Wrong Side of the Road, as well as producer Graeme Isaac and director Ned Lander

Thirty-plus years on from the making of this indigenous road movie, it stands as a benchmark - a pioneering film of urban Australian Aboriginality, a reminder of what has been achieved since then, and a challenge to us all to recognise and remove the areas of discrimination and disadvantage that still remain.

Part of the job of our ATSI Advisory Panel is to guide us not only on protocols but on practical ways we can do that.

Emerging from our City-wide consultations for Sustainable Sydney 2030, we found a really strong plea for Aboriginal stories to be told in Sydney and for recognition of the historic - and continuing - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence.

This will be expressed in the Eora Journey - a track winding from the harbourfront, through the City to Redfern - celebrating Sydney's Aboriginal culture and heritage, and celebrating the tremendous spirit that lives on here.

This, I know, will be welcomed by international visitors as well as by local residents and will, I hope, be a stimulus to us all to continue working towards full reconciliation.

It will also be - as this film is - a reminder of the tremendous vitality and creativity of our indigenous communities - in art, music, dance, and other areas - as well as of their on-going contribution to Australian culture, at home and internationally.

In 1981, Wrong Side of the Road was something of a breakthrough in presenting urban blacks rather than remote communities - and increasingly, works like Redfern Now are showing us a rich and multi-faceted picture of urban Aboriginal life.

So it is wonderful, a real cause for celebration, to have this important film so beautiful restored. Congratulations to the Australian Film & Sound Archive and to everyone who worked on it.

It's fabulous that it is now going to have a magnificent new life. I know you'll all enjoy it tonight.