11 Feb 2019: Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp offering a formal toast to a full house of distinguished guests at The Asian Executive 2019 Lunar New Year Gala Dinner at the Park Hyatt Melbourne.
Leadership for Our
Melbourne is one of the most culturally diverse communities in Australia, possibly the world. I’m proud to live in a nation that has been shaped over generations by the oldest continuous living indigenous population and culture in the world.
An Australia that has been shaped over generations by waves of migrants who left their native lands for new beginnings. Their hard work, values, and traditions have helped create modern Australia.
From forming a new nation, to enjoying the freedoms of a democracy, Australia has flourished as amulticultural community. One that is strong enough to tolerate a range of views, but also unafraid to call out prejudice.
I’m always humbled by the joy, excitement and pride of our newest citizens. I’m also profoundly moved, because these people are choosing to bring the best of themselves and their heritage to create a new future here in Australia. They are making a proactive commitment to our nation which is different to being born into it.
Our city of Melbourne is home to people speaking 260 languages and practising more than 135 faiths. I am proud of that. Just look at our city’s profile in 2019: 56 per cent of Melbourne’s residents were born overseas, and almost half speak a language other than English at home.
There are few corners of our city not touched by international influences. We celebrate three of our oldest migrant communities in the cultural precincts of Chinatown, the Lonsdale Street Greek precinct and Lygon Street with its rich Italian heritage.
These celebrations include Chinese New Year and the mooncake festival, Tanderrum, the Carlton Italian Festa, Oktoberfest, Diwali and many, many more. We support a rewarding African-Australian Community Partnership program and other initiatives which aim to ensure all feel connected in our city.
I feel confident that the best of our past and the strength of our future is – and will most profoundly be – shaped by all who choose to make Melbourne their homes; those who have come across the seas and those who have been here for thousands of years.
With courage, ambition and generosity, we will indeed be stronger together.
Lord Mayor of Melbourne