(9.30am, Level 5, East Village, Victoria Park)
Thank you and hello, everyone.
Last October I was present at the opening of the second Montessori Academy in the heart of our City and the 16th Montessori to open in Sydney, so it's a great pleasure to welcome this new one at Victoria Park.
There is a huge and growing need for early education and care in the City, as evidence by the numbers of working families which have been rising steadily for two decades, and the City is acting to deal with that. From early 2016, there will be at least 240 new child-care spaces for babies and children after the City approved three new centres across the LGA.
In addition to these, construction has already begun on a 60-place centre in Darlinghurst and we're working on the design of a new centre in Green Square.
In all, we're investing $33 million in these new centres because child care is essential for working parents. We're also encouraging the creation of child-care centres in new developments.
There's not just a need for child-care, but for high-quality education and care which encourages and supports children to learn and develop. But of course parents want the confidence that they will be entrusting their children to the best care and teaching available. And it seems that people have confidence in the Montessori name.
The environment provides children with easily accessible materials and the program itself caters for language enrichment, social skills, practical life exercise, sensorial materials, art and craft, science, mathematics and cultural area.
The Montessori claim is that it supports children's independence, concentration and self-discipline - attributes which are important to develop from childhood and attributes that will equip them to help build a city that is innovative and creative for the 21st century.
I'm really delighted to see it open. We want Sydney to be welcoming and accessible for everyone - and that includes parents and their children.
So I look forward to the contribution that the school, its teachers and parents, will make to the life of the City. I wish it all the very best.