Following is the speech (English only) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, at the Launch of the Hong Kong Fair in Melbourne, Australia, today (Friday):
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, Senator Tchen Tsebin, thank you for your warm welcome. For me personally, it's a great pleasure to be back in Melbourne - a city that is synonymous with fashion, culture and the arts, and I might add, a popular destination on the Australian tourist map. Thank you also for introducing me to one of Australia's best known animals, the koala. I'm told I shouldn't be beguiled by its soft sleepy appearance in more ways than one!
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 generations, probably to the Victorian "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, had a hugely enjoyable time in doing so. I know there will be an even bigger treat in store for visitors during what we hope will be a spectacular Millennium year in Hong Kong.
Equally important today is the fascinating "Face to Face" photographic exhibition which is visually the stunning result of a "cultural exchange" of a top photographer from Australia and Hong Kong and initiated by the Australian Consulate General. I commend the exhibition to you as a meaningful work of contemporary art.
As you may be aware, Hong Kong is a leading tourism centre in the Asian region, and we have plans to make it even more popular as a family destination with the arrival of Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005. You'll have to excuse me for this small plug to Mickey and his friends, but I think we have struck a 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, we want you to appreciate the traditional and the new - from the action of the lion dancers to the acrobatics of your own Fruit Fly Circus. And don't forget, please come and visit us. We have a great deal to offer, not only in the millennium year, but way into the future as well.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
End/Friday, November 26, 1999