Waterloo Oval Youth Facility Opening

(12pm 11 August 2012, Waterloo Oval)

Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and welcome. I'd like to thank Uncle Max for performing the smoking ceremony, and Michael West for the Welcome to Country. I would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to acknowledge the people of 200 nationalities who live in this city.

I also welcome the Federal Member for Sydney, Minister Tanya Plibersek and Shane Brown, Director of WEAVE, the group which will be running programs here for young people in our community.

They don't really need any introduction as they have been active in South Sydney for over 30 years, but it is a great pleasure to launch this fantastic new home which is for local youth, but is also a centre for local families and community.

I hope it will help WEAVE to continue running their fantastic programs, and that it will become a much-loved centre for the community here - something that will be very much woven into the life of this community. WEAVE has already been on this site for 15 years and has a close working relationship with Council, which helps deliver support to local young people in a timely and effective way.

Along with the skate park this includes office space and meeting rooms, a courtyard for informal meetings, a specially-designed GP room - and Shane tells me WEAVE hopes to attract a GP in the future and the fabulous roof-top space for the barbecue and other activities.

There's also a chill-out room and computers in the front reception area for visitors to use.

The $3.5 million redevelopment was largely funded by a $2 million grant from the Federal Government's Community Infrastructure Program.

As you can see, it's a unique structure with its distinctive "crown" canopy which will eventually be wreathed in vines and blend into the surrounding green of the park. This green crown will help insulate the rooms underneath, and it will also shield the barbecue and vegetable patch on the roof.

It's a very environmentally conscious building, with energy-efficient materials used throughout including low-energy lighting, thermal heating and cooling and natural ventilation.

There are also tanks to collect rainwater for re-use, and it's good to know that some of the materials used here are actually recycled: the old slate roof tiles have become pebbles for the garden, and the timber pavers in the internal courtyard were once railway sleepers that had been made from one of Australia's first plantations of ironwood back in the 1930s.

I'd like to thank our architects, Huw Turner and Penny Collins of Collins & Turner Architects, and Project Corp Australia who carried out the building work.

It's a pleasure to declare it officially open.