Official Opening of Azure Blue Carina
Good afternoon – and thank you for the warm welcome to this marvellous new Blue Care community in this exceptional bushland setting.
I first acknowledge and pay my respects to the Turrbal and Jagera peoples who cared for the lands of the Brisbane region for thousands of years before European exploration and settlement, and I thank Turrbal songwoman, Maroochy Barambah, for her welcome to country.
Ladies and gentlemen, I was very pleased, as Governor, to be invited to officially open this facility and, shortly, to unveil a commemorative plaque. It was a particular pleasure for Kaye and me to be given a personal tour of Azure Blue and to chat to some of the residents over afternoon tea before joining you here for this official ceremony.
As I travel the State, meeting and talking to my fellow Queenslanders, I am very aware of the growing need for developments like this. They offer both supported living for the elderly and infirm, and give retirees the facilities and services they most want when they make the decision to ‘down-size’ from the family home – secure and independent living, a safe environment, access to emergency support, and a wide range of facilities and services.
A survey last year of over 5,200 residents of retirement villages across Australia revealed that, for the vast majority of those surveyed (98 per cent!), the reality of life in such a community was as good as or better than they had anticipated, with more independence, improved health and social interaction, and greater confidence and security.
Not surprisingly, then, the decision by UnitingCare Queensland and Blue Care to invest 79 million dollars in this latest Azure Blue development has been well and truly vindicated.
I understand there has been an exceptional level of interest in the 98 apartments and 128-bed residential care facility, from both residents of the surrounding suburbs and further afield, since construction began in April twenty-twelve. It truly lives up to the Azure Blue slogan of ‘redefining retirement living’.
Having only recently moved from our family home of almost 35 years, with all its attendant maintenance challenges, Kaye and I can certainly understand the appeal of a ‘redefined’ life which is free of lawn-mowing and emergency repairs! The staff of Government House do an exceptional job maintaining ‘Fernberg’, the historic, heritage-listed home of Queensland’s governors where Kaye and I now live.
At the moment I don’t need secateurs and a screw-driver close to hand!
But eventually, when my term as Governor ends, we will be happily joining the ranks of what the Australian social demographer, Mark McGrindle, refers to as ‘down-agers’ – the new generation of retirees who bely their chronological age: living longer, remaining more active, using technology more, and even continuing to work. (I’ve been told there are even residents of retirement communities who are still in paid employment and so, technically, not retired at all!)
We are reminded almost daily of the challenges produced for Australian society and our economy by an ageing population. Some 20 thousand senior Australians each year make the decision to move to a retirement village. That trend calls for a visionary response, and I congratulate UnitingCare Queensland and Blue Care on having the foresight to build this superb facility. It is a marvellous complement to the sister Azure Blue communities that already operate in Redcliffe and Kawana Waters. It makes a significant contribution to the welfare of our society by expanding the care and retirement accommodation options available in our State.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank them sincerely for that, and it is now, with great pleasure, that I declare Azure Blue Carina officially open.