By NSW Premier Mike Baird @MikeBairdMP
I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks this week to launch the program for this year’s Vivid Sydney festival, which will expand into new areas this year and run for an additional five nights.
Destination NSW has prepared a jam-packed program for this year’s extended 23-night festival, which will run from 27 May to 18 June giving visitors more time to explore our global city and enjoy the light art, musical performances and creative ideas on offer.
Vivid showcases Australia’s creative industries and, in just eight years, has become the largest festival of its kind in the world. Last year, it attracted a record 1.7 million domestic and international visitors who spent a massive $63 million during their stays.
Visitors enrich the Vivid experience for everyone and create a vibrant atmosphere around the festival, turning a traditionally quiet visitor period into one of the year’s busiest. It’s also proving to be extremely popular with visitors from across the Asia Pacific, particularly China and India, and our hotels, cafés and restaurants are all benefiting as a result.
In 2016, two new precincts will come to life and I look forward to exploring the new light installations at the Royal Botanic Garden and Taronga Zoo. The program also includes performances by New Order and Björk and conversations with director and producer Spike Jonze, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon and the creative force behind Orange Is the New Black, Jenji Kohan. The sails of the Sydney Opera House will also be a canvas for ‘Songlines’, which will project beautiful works of Australian Indigenous art.
To other news, the Harmony Dinner was a great success with 1,500 people attending this year’s event at Rosehill Gardens.
I was fortunate to meet with the new Indian Consul General, His Excellency Shri Vanlalvawna, at the dinner. I welcomed the Consul and his family to Sydney and NSW and conveyed to him how important the relationship between not only Australia and India, but with NSW was to the Government. It is a relationship that has been going from strength to strength, certainly after the recent visit from Prime Minister Modi, and we hope will continue to grow into the future.
A member of Sydney’s Jewish community who has served the community by promoting multicultural and interfaith dialogue for the past 40 years received top honours at the dinner. The Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award went to Jeremy Jones AM, who was a founder of the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations and serves on the NSW Police Commissioner’s Multicultural Advisory Council.
Finally, we are expanding real-time bus data to deliver service information to commuters in real-time.
Commuters have a huge appetite for following public transport in real-time, with over 900 million data serves delivered to real-time apps in 2015, an increase of over 50 per cent on the year before. They can now follow their bus service on any of the 11 real-time transport apps on offer: TripGo, Triptastic, TripView, Arrivo Sydney, Transit App, abil.io, TransitTimes, Commute, Metarove, Moovit and NextThere.
We’re rolling out real-time data as part of our commitment to providing a reliable transport network and allowing commuters to map out their journeys with reliable and up-to-the-minute information.