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Opening of the John James Foundation AEIOU Canberra Region Centre, Garran ACT


Good morning, everyone.

This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

Linda and I are delighted to be with you and to preside over the opening of a building that says so much about the calibre of people involved and the real richness of spirit that exists in our community here in Canberra.

The Centre we’re opening today – the John James Foundation AEIOU Canberra Region Centre – has been 12 months in the making. We’re glad to finally be here.

The Centre is already proving to be life-changing for children with autism and their families.

It is also a first for the region. I am excited about the positive and lasting impact its services will have on the A-C-T community.

Linda and I have had a strong association over the years with many organisations in the health and education sectors.

Linda used to be a teacher, and we are both passionate about organisations and programs that deliver positive education and health outcomes.

The John James Foundation AEIOU Canberra Region Centre fits perfectly into that category.

The founder of AEIOU, Dr James Morton AM, and the respective Chairs of the two Foundations, will have more to say about the Centre shortly, suffice to say it will change lives and help unlock the potential in children with autism.

The Centre's purpose is to create opportunities for children with autism. This is a moral imperative but of course there are also significant social and economic benefits from early intervention.

What a gift to give to a child – to unlock their potential, and to watch them develop and go on to make their way in the world.

And what gifts to give to their families – hope, confidence, and peace of mind.

As I said, this Centre is life-changing — children with autism and their families who have been unable to access specialist care elsewhere will now have a warm, welcoming and supportive place of their own.

I’m informed that the first cohort of children have already made significant developmental gains.

Linda and I look forward to hearing more positive news in the weeks and months ahead.

I would like to thank all involved in the John James Foundation and the AEIOU Foundation for making this Centre a reality.

To the John James Foundation – for its vision and philanthropic commitment.

To the AEIOU Foundation – for its mission to enhance the lives of children with autism and their families.

And to the ACT Government – for donating the land.

All of you have helped create a stronger, more inclusive community.

Thank you.