Following is the text (English only) of the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, at the "Millennium Hong Kong" Launch at Customs House in Sydney, Australia today (Sunday):
Lord Mayor Sartor, Minister Bishop, Mr Gautier, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for your very warm welcome. I'm delighted to be back in Sydney after an absence of three years. Sydney to my mind provides the ideal setting to launch what we hope will be a spectacular Millennium year in Hong Kong. Lord Mayor, and you also said the City of Sydney Council should be enormously proud of the 'new' Customs House. I'm sure we in Hong Kong can learn from what you have achieved here in the restoration and preservation of this fine old building. So it is a great honour, indeed, for us to be able to use it today.
As Lord Mayor has said, Australia and Hong Kong have a long-standing friendship. It goes much deeper than trade and economic relations; to the person and family links that stretch back many generations, probably to the 'gold rush' days of the last century. Last year, we welcomed more than 270,000 visitors from Australia who pumped some 260 million Australian dollars into our economy and, I trust, also had a hugely enjoyable time in doing so. And more than 200,000 Hong Kong residents came 'downunder' to sample the many delights of this great country.
We want to see those figures increasing even before Hong Kong Disneyland opens in the year 2005. You'll have to excuse me for this small plug to Mickey and his friends, but I think we have struck a very good deal with The Walt Disney Company to become only the third city outside of the US to build a Disney theme park. But that is something for the future.
Today, as Mr Gautier has mentioned, we want you to appreciate the traditional and the new - from the tribal and lion dances to the other creative talents of Hong Kong's young designers. And don't forget, please come and visit us. We have a lot to offer, not only in the millennium year, but way into the future as well. Thank you all very much.
End/Sunday, November 21, 1999