(11am 27 June 2012, 90 Regent Street, Redfern)
Thank you, Brendan Crotty, and good morning, everyone. 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 people of 200 nationalities who live in our city.
A special acknowledgement this morning to the Property Industry Foundation Patron, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW; the Foundation's National Chairman Victor Hoog Antink; its Ambassador Greg Paramor; the national CEO, Rosemary Smithson and everyone involved in the foundation's Rebuild a Young Life Program.
And of course, a special welcome to the Salvation Army Oasis representatives who will be running PIF House.
The City was delighted to join with you in this wonderful project. We provided the property, you provided the funds, expertise, and the management skills. It's a prime example of what partnerships between industry and local government can achieve to benefit our community.
It marks an important step towards providing support - and most importantly, hope and caring - for some of our most vulnerable.
On any one night, there are 22,000 children and young people who are homeless in NSW. That's a terrible statistic, one we all are shamed by.
The fact that 43 per cent of all homeless people in this state are aged under 24 highlights the problems of family breakdown and the urgent need for the work that the Property Industry Foundation is doing, and I'm proud to think that you're now planning to make this Sydney initiative a national program.
As I have said a number of times before, the property industry does contribute - whether it's through raising funds, volunteering time, material and expertise to projects, through initiatives such as the Greg Paramor scholarship program, mentoring or other programs to develop work and life skills.
By bringing these young people in from the cold - figuratively as well as literally - by giving them somewhere safe to sleep, food and care, you give them a chance to complete their education and to find positive goals for the future.
The foundation already has many supporters, and I'd urge anyone in the industry who is not yet involved to join with them to continue this fantastic work.
I thank Brendan Crotty and all those who have worked so hard to bring it to fruition. Thank you all for your contribution to a more equitable and just city.
Your investment in our young people, and your faith in their potential, is the greatest gift that many of them will ever receive. I hope that you are all proud of what you have achieved here, and I'm pleased to officially open PIF House.