Reception for the 2014 'Ekka'
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I acknowledge the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The Honourable Dr John McVeigh MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, The Honourable Tim Mulherin MP, RNA Council President, The Honourable Justice David Thomas and RNA Councillors, Leaders and representatives of many organisations important to Queensland’s agricultural sector and wider community, distinguished guests, including our Showgirls, Winner Ms Sophie Hughes, from Teebar, in the Burnett region, and Runner-up Ms Emma Crozier, from Sarina.
I welcome you warmly to Government House this evening. It is a great pleasure for Kaye and me to continue the strong and long-standing Vice-Regal connection with the Royal Queensland Show.
We and hundreds of thousands of other Queenslanders look forward to this time of the year when the heart of country Queensland arrives in the heart of Brisbane.
Broad-brimmed hats appear in the streets, livestock and produce pour into the Grounds at Bowen Hills, axemen and women sharpen their blades, agricultural displays are carefully arranged, and sheepdogs look forward to their fifteen minutes of fame in the main arena.
Parents of small children prepare for their day at the show with military precision. Older children display impressive numeracy skills, calculating to the last cent the maximum number of rides and show bags they can buy on their budget.
Most importantly, the agricultural sector in our State, which is a major contributor to our State’s economy and a crucial part of our State’s past, present and future, takes centre stage for almost two weeks. The RNA’s education program for schools, using the Ekka to teach young city people about the importance to them of life on the land, makes that point to new generations. Kaye and I very much look forward to seeing all this, and more, when we attend People’s Day on Wednesday.
The special place that the Ekka holds in the hearts of people in Queensland is reconstructed every year, piece by piece, by every one of its many participants.
And that, in turn, requires an enormous effort on the part of the RNA Council and staff and their army of workers and volunteers. I thank them all, not only for making the Show possible, but also for their magnificent effort in creating for visitors, every year, a joyous ‘Ekka’ experience worthy of life-long memories.
Thank you for coming this evening to celebrate this wonderful festival of country Queensland. I wish you an enjoyable evening and a highly successful 2014 Royal Queensland Show.