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The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Business of Design Week Gala Dinner in Hong Kong.


The Honourable Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development
The Honourable Martin Foley MP, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries
Ms Michaela Browning, Australian Consul General to Hong Kong
Professor Eric Yim Chi-ming JP, Chairman, Hong Kong Design Centre
The Honourable Victor Lo Chung-wing, GBM, GBS, JP, Chairman, BODW Steering Committee, Hong Kong Design Centre
Dr Edmund Lee, Executive Director, Hong Kong Design Centre
All distinguished guests

I feel as if we have been in Hong Kong for at least a month, judging from the amount of visual and intellectual stimulation to which we have been feted.

I can’t believe that only a couple of days have passed since the Hong Kong Business of Design Week started.

In the Opening Ceremony, I spoke of the honour for Melbourne in being selected as the partner city for this event.

I can only say that I am fortified in that view, having seen the impressive exhibits from other cities and countries, and having met and chatted with some of the cleverest design innovators from all around the world.

I also spoke of the enormous challenge in articulating what it is that makes a great design city.

I cannot claim that just two days later, I am now capable of rising to that challenge. But I think I have a heightened appreciation of the breadth of elements that contribute.

The theme overarching the displays in the Melbourne Pavilion has been ‘Shared Values’. Seeing the displays collected there under that umbrella, combined with my other experiences here, has convinced me of certain shared values common to the best of the world’s design centres.

First, the shared values of design certainly do cross borders. They cross national borders. They cross the boundaries of sectors. The arbitrary boundaries of disciplines. And the even more arbitrary barriers of age or stage of career.

They are about an innovative mindset. Curiosity. Generous and open dialogue between industries, between academia and industry, between government and designers and between individuals.

They are about a world view informed by the great polymaths of history. The Leonardo da Vinci’s. Those who, like him, could look at their feet and see, not just the tangible flesh and bone but, as he put it: ‘a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art’. An equal appreciation of both: the art and the science.

And so, the best design ecosystems see their designers thinking creatively to build us a better future. To develop good surroundings. Useful products. Businesses and communities with clever systems and processes.  Being innovation. Enhancing the world’s social equity and sustainability. Not just waiting for a problem in search of a solution.

With participants from so many different parts of the world, this event has seen knowledge shared and new connections made across the breadth of design areas that will foster creativity, innovation and business opportunities.

Victoria has been proud that our capital city, Melbourne, has been the partner city for this, the largest annual design event in Asia and one of the leading design events in the world.

I am pleased that the already strong relationship between Melbourne and Hong Kong is further deepened. I have no doubt that, as two of the world’s creative hubs, there is immense potential for future collaboration in design and innovation.

That leaves me only to extend a warm invitation for you all to visit Melbourne. Please come to see Australia’s most rapidly growing city – which is soon to be the largest in our nation.

Come to enjoy our love of design that is, I think, readily apparent throughout our city, whether wandering around the street art in our laneways, or through the magnificent inner-city parklands, in our galleries, or at one of a large number of cultural festivals and major sports events.

Come to learn more of our design and innovation more broadly to, as it impacts our healthcare, transport and commerce.

And while you are there, enjoy some of the best coffee (or perhaps wine…..or gin) in the world!

Thank you to you all – the talented designers, and most particularly to the Hong Kong Design Centre and everyone connected with the Hong Kong Business of Design Week – the success of which shall certainly continue well beyond this week.