(83 Quay Street Haymarket)
Thank you, Andrew Lee, Urbanest CEO and good morning, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
Today we are officially opening Sydney's first urbanest community, and the third in Australia, providing residents with purpose-built shared accommodation and living spaces to support and enhance both their academic and social lives.
Importantly, it also provides 24-hour staff support, a social calendar and volunteering opportunities for residents.
Education services are our third largest earner. At the same time, they can provide life-changing opportunities for international students, strengthen Australia's diplomatic relations, bring considerable benefits to our education institutions and build on our unique and successful multicultural society which is made up of 200 different nationalities.
Sydney at present is home to about 35,000 overseas students studying at our universities, two of them being within the Sydney local government area, and a third, the University of NSW, just on the fringes.
Education services are therefore a vital part of the city's economy and it is essential that we provide a safe, welcoming and happy environment for these potentially vulnerable young people.
In addition to the economic impact of education services, the presence of these young people brings a greater richness, energy and diversity to our universities and to our city neighbourhoods.
So the City is developing an education action plan to support international students and provide them with a better introduction to our city.
Under our Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, we are working in partnership with our universities to involve them in the creation of local Activity Hubs which will support the cultural development of our city communities.
Our Safe City team visits student orientation week activities. We provide discount entry to all our recreation and aquatic centres like the nearby Ian Thorpe centre, and we have a number of programs running at our Youth Centres to which international students are welcome.
I'm pleased to know that Urbanest, too, has developed close relationships with our tertiary institutions to ensure that the 300-plus students living here have the best experience possible of their time in Sydney.
I congratulate Urbanest on providing a home base for that experience, and congratulate also their architects, Bates Smart, on a lively and engaging addition to the Haymarket streetscape.
I'm sure the students are enjoying their time here.
And I am very pleased to formally open this great new addition to Sydney's education offerings.