(1pm 30 March 2012, Ultimo Community Centre, William Henry Street)
Thank you, Maria Legaz, MC and good afternoon, everyone. I'm delighted to be here with you today. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our City - including, of course, our vital Spanish-speaking communities.
I also acknowledge the Consul-General of Spain in Sydney, Mr Gerardo Bugallo and the Trade Commissioner of Spain, Ms Cristina Teijelo.
Congratulations to the Spanish Community Care Association on achieving this dream of a regular meeting place for senior Spanish-speakers. The City has a long association with your organisation, and we've been happy to support you in the wonderful work that you do.
Really strong communities are built from the ground up, they embrace newcomers and long-established settlers, the elderly as well as the young, the workers and home-makers, the well-to-do and those not so fortunate.
Your organisation, and others like it across the City, help make Sydney the generally welcoming, peaceful and caring place that it is and this centre will only add to the services you already offer.
I understand from Maria that you are expecting between 30 and 40 members to attend each week - most of whom live in our local government area. I know they will enjoy and benefit from the various activities you have planned - from films to English conversation classes, Spanish card and board games, Zumba classes and, I hear, perhaps dance classes as well.
As I've said at many other gatherings such as this, when we talk about "community", we are really talking about each one of us. Community requires our participation, our willingness to connect with and help our neighbours, our fellow-citizens.
So a big thank you from the City to the Spanish Community Care Association and to all the wonderful volunteers who are helping us build a strong, compassionate and caring city of Sydney.
It's a great pleasure to declare this Day Centre formally open.