Ladies and gentlemen.
It’s a great privilege to be here representing Premier Dominic Perrottet, who sends his best wishes to everyone at this very special dinner.
Tonight we honour the contributions of members of the Chamber and the success of Lebanese business people not just in New South Wales, but Australia.
Lebanese Australian’s are important contributors to the life of our state and you do so in every sphere – cultural, economic, philanthropic.
And our state is stronger because of the contribution you make.
For almost 40 years, you have worked hard to strengthen trade relations between Australia, Lebanon and the Middle East.
And, of course, you have also worked hard to help local businesses expand their operations nationally and internationally.
Lebanese Australians – like many of our post-war migrant communities – have made many sacrifices to build our great state.
You’ve achieved this through your diligence. Your dedication. And your determination.
Indeed, you are enthusiastic entrepreneurs who continue to support our state grow from strength to strength.
Tonight, on behalf of the Premier, I thank you for those efforts – this year and every year.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have had a long and prosperous relationship with the Lebanese community in NSW.
You have always made me feel right at home. But maybe that’s also because I am married to a Lebanese Australian.
Indeed, your hospitality and generosity has left a profound mark on our community here.
And your determination to succeed, to contribute and to give back does not go unnoticed.
I know that while the Chamber focuses on fostering commerce, trade and a healthy economy - which are hugely important to us all, you are also strong humanitarians.
The NSW Government certainly has not forgotten how quickly the Chamber sprang into action after the Beirut port explosion in August 2020.
You immediately began facilitating the efforts of those wanting to aid the victims, helping them with documents, customs requirements and quarantine issues.
Later that month you also started an appeal for donations to help students affected by the blast.
On behalf of the NSW Government, I sincerely commend your efforts to support our communities in NSW, and back in Lebanon, too.
And while the Lebanese community here embodies noble values of kindness and generosity, they are shared by all in our great multicultural society.
Which brings me to our wonderful cultural diversity …
No one can dispute that we’re one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet.
We now have people who come from 311 different cultures and ancestries.
People who follow 139 different religious practices.
And people who speak more than 280 different languages.
We set an example to the rest of the world for how such diverse communities can live together harmoniously.
More than anything, this is because we all value the hope and opportunity that our country has to offer.
But while many people come to New South Wales to start a new life, what I truly believe makes us a multicultural success story is that no matter our background, we all want to give back.
Just like the members of the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and the Lebanese community.
You give back because you are thoughtful.
And you’ve continued to give back through some of the toughest times that our state has seen.
Thanks to you all and to the partnership between community, business and government, we continue to secure a brighter future for everyone in NSW.
To close, thank you for the chance to join your special dinner tonight.
And on behalf of Premier Perrottet, I congratulate the recipients of tonight’s awards.
You’ve helped to make New South Wales a better place in which to live.
I hope you all enjoy this special occasion.
I’m Mark Coure, Minister for Multiculturalism.