Following is the speech (English only) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the opening of the 'Hong Kong - Setting the Pace in Asia' Exhibition at Melbourne Town Hall today (August 20):
Lord Mayor So, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining us today for the opening of this exhibition 'Hong Kong - Setting the Pace in Asia'.
As many of you know, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. Within an area of just 1,100 square kilometres you will find almost seven million people - about twice the population of Melbourne.
But much of our land is either country park or too steep to build on. So population densities in some older urban areas can be as high as 50,000 people per square kilometre. That's the same as squeezing the entire population of Mildura into a few city bocks down here in the central business district.
You'll also find that we are home to the world's busiest container port and the world's busiest - and biggest - international air cargo terminal. Our boundary crossing with the Mainland is also one of the world's busiest, coping with an ebb and flow of more than 31,000 vehicles and 310,000 people every day.
Such unique circumstances have called for unique solutions. As the old expression goes, necessity is the mother of invention. So we have devised new and innovative ways to cope with the pressures of population and economic development that exist in Hong Kong.
People, vehicles, goods and capital flow in and out and around Hong Kong like no other city. Below and beside our towering skyscrapers runs an amazing web of roads and railways, walkways and bridges that keeps Hong Kong ever on the move.
Leading-edge financial infrastructure, and a sophisticated telecommunications network, ensure that Hong Kong remains in instant contact with all corners of the globe to maintain our position as the region's leading banking and financial centre.
In Hong Kong, we live life in the fast lane. That's partly because we like living in one of the most dynamic, bustling and exciting cities on earth. But it's also because we know that to become the world city of Asia we must always strive to be one step ahead of the competition. We must be setting the pace in Asia, not falling in step with everyone else.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you will see in this exhibition, Hong Kong is undergoing a major transformation that will further boost our competitiveness as a hub for trade and business, finance, tourism and communications.
Major projects to improve the environment, culture, recreation and leisure facilities will greatly enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives in Hong Kong.
Today, you will really only catch a glimpse of what we have on offer, and what is in store. So I would simply say this: Seeing is believing. Why not come and visit us in Hong Kong, Asia's world city.
Thank you very much.
End/Tuesday, August 20, 2002