The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, launched a tourist promotion event "Millennium Hong Kong - The Dragon's Spirit" at Customs House in Sydney today (Sunday), after arriving early this morning to start a week-long visit to Australia.
She is visiting Australia, as an official guest of the Australian Government, with a high-powered delegation which includes the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting, Mr K.C. Kwong, and prominent business leaders in the financial and information technology fields.
Cheered by flag-waving children on arrival at the refurbished Customs House, Mrs Chan was greeted by, among others, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Mr Frank Sartor; Federal Minister for Aged Care, Ms Bronwyn Bishop; Members of the Parliament of New South Wales, Henry Tsang and Helen Sham-ho, and Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourist Association, Mr Douglas Gautier.
Organised by the Hong Kong Tourist Association, the event offered members of the public both the traditional and the new - from the Australian Aboriginal and lion dances to the other creative talents of Hong Kong's fashion designers.
Mrs Chan noted in her remarks that Australia and Hong Kong had a long-standing friendship, going much deeper than trade and economic relations and stretching back to the personal and family links formed during the 'gold rush' days of the last century.
Last year, Hong Kong had over 270,000 visitors from Australia who pumped some 260 million Australian dollars into the economy. In the same period, more than 200,000 HK residents visited "downunder".
"We want to see those figures increasing even before Hong Kong Disneyland opens in the year 2005," she said.
After the launch, Mrs Chan met the Premier of New South Wales, Mr Bob Carr. During the meeting, Mrs Chan underlined the existing links between New South Wales and Hong Kong, and enhanced opportunities for Australian businessmen, particularly with China's accession to the World Trade Organisation. She encouraged the Premier to convey the message to the business community. Mrs Chan also informed Mr Carr that Hong Kong decided to express interest in bidding for the Asian Games 2006 and would very much welcome the Premier's Office to share with Hong Kong their experience in putting together its bid for the Olympic Games.
Later in the day, Mrs Chan attended a cocktail reception for Hong Kong groups at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. There, she met about 70 members from the Hong Kong Australia Business Association, the Australian Chinese Community Association of New South Wales, the University of Hong Kong Alumni Association and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Alumni.
Mrs Chan also took the opportunity to present the Gold Bauhinia Star to retired Hong Kong High Court Judge, Sir Noel Power, for his eminent service to Hong Kong. He was awarded the honour earlier this year.
Tomorrow, Mrs Chan will have a series of meetings with leading media representatives and attend a lunch hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce before she goes to a gala dinner organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
On Tuesday, Mrs Chan has another round of meetings and events including a visit to the site of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, media interviews, a business luncheon organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and the Gala Opening of the Hong Kong Film Festival.
On Wednesday, she will go to Canberra where she will meet the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Anderson; other senior government and political figures. She will also address the National Press Club which is a premier speaking forum in Australia, before attending a dinner hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer.
Mrs Chan will continue her busy schedule when she flies to Melbourne on Thursday where she will meet the Premier, Mr Steve Bracks, and other senior political and business figures. She will deliver a keynote address at a business luncheon organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and attend the Gala Opening of the Hong Kong Film Festival in Melbourne.
On Friday, she will officiate at a photographic exhibition "Face to Face" organised by the Hong Kong Tourist Association and a gala dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
The Chief Secretary for Administration will return to Hong Kong on Saturday, November 27.
End/Sunday, November 21, 1999