Lt.-Gov John Crosbie reads Monday's speech from the throne. (CBC)

The first speech from the throne with Kathy Dunderdale as Newfoundland and Labrador's premier focused on the Lower Churchill deal and measures to help families.

Monday's speech, read by Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie, praised the multi-billion dollar energy deal between Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia to develop the Lower Churchill.

"What's more the agreement with Emera provides Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time in our history with a link to consumers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and New England firmly establishing Newfoundland and Labrador as a clean energy superpower in northeastern North America," Crosbie read.

The speech also promised the next budget will look at child care and infant care spaces.

"Parents in our province who would like to balance parenting with careers are not always able to do so because they cannot find child care spaces. Many have little choice but to put their careers on hold. My Government believes insufficient access to child care is not only a barrier to employment but also an obstacle to economic growth," the speech said.

It also promised to introduce budget measures addressing early childhood learning, affordable housing and a new emphasis on preventative health care.

The speech contained promises to enforce employment equity agreements and to give women better access to jobs in the oil patch and on the Lower Churchill project, saying "a person’s path to opportunity should not be barred because she is a woman."

"As women share fully in these opportunities, Newfoundland and Labrador will benefit more fully from the unique skills and perspectives our province’s women bring to the table," Crosbie read.

Dunderdale became the province's first female premier when Danny Williams retired in December.

The speech marks the start of the spring session of the legislature.