Official Opening of the Mackay Regional Council Sarina Water Recycling Facility
My wife Kaye and I are delighted to be in Sarina and I thank the Mackay Regional Council for its kind invitation to us to participate in this important event. The invitation is all the more welcome because this is my first visit to the Mackay region since I was sworn in as Governor earlier this year.
At once I also acknowledge the Traditional Owners, past and present, of the land on which we gather, and I extend respectful greetings.
This Water Recycling Facility is a highly significant project, one that represents a crucial element of public health infrastructure for this region.
Waste water treatment tends not to be a frequent topic of discussion around the breakfast or dinner table. We expect this service to proceed unsung and unseen. However, it is worth recalling that facilities like this have long represented one of the greatest ever advances ever in community health and well-being.
I invite you to imagine what it must have been like to walk the streets of Australia’s early settlements when open drains in the streets were frequently the norm. Or, as an even greater challenge, I invite you to imagine yourself in the middle of a novel by Charles Dickens, following his characters through the streets of an overcrowded but unsewered city like London.
The experience would have been decidedly unpleasant, but the health consequences were far more unpleasant, and often deadly. Until, that is, engineers developed ways of transporting waste efficiently and of treating it so as to reduce the impact on the environment.
Facilities such as this provide amenity and perform an indispensable role in protecting public health. We should be grateful that, as Queenslanders and Australians living in a developed country in the twenty-first century, most of us can take that essential service for granted.
The Sarina Water Treatment Facility is a major development in the region’s capacity to manage population increases in this fast-growing region. I understand that it replaces outdated technology that is unable to meet future growth. I understand also that its capacity is expected to meet the area’s needs for decades, with potential for further expansion built into the design.
Furthermore, the facility is designed to produce higher-quality treated water, substantially reducing the impact on the environment and providing water that can be used for commercial purposes.
At a time when almost eighty percent of Queensland is drought-declared, we are constantly reminded of the need to manage our precious water resources carefully. This facility’s capacity to produce water suitable for re-use is entirely in keeping with that principle.
The provision of waste treatment infrastructure has long been the responsibility of local governments and I heartily congratulate the Mackay Regional Council on its initiative in commissioning this facility. I congratulate the Council also on its foresight in ensuring that the plant has the capacity to serve the community of Sarina well into the future.
I congratulate the designers of the facility, council engineers, and the contractors involved. I make particular note of the fact that today represents one of the few occasions on which the work of council engineers is recognized, and I thank them on behalf of the local community.
This facility is a major vote of confidence in the future of Sarina and of the Mackay region. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I will join the Mayor in a short while in unveiling a commemorative plaque and that I now declare the Sarina Water Recycling Facility officially open. Thank you.