Awards Ceremony for Presentation of Red Cross Queensland National Emergency Medals
As Patron of the Queensland Division of the Australian Red Cross, I am very pleased to host this award ceremony here at Fernberg today and to extend a warm Government House welcome to our medal recipients and their guests, as well as the State and indeed global representatives of the Red Cross movement.
It has been a great honour to present these seventeen National Emergency Medals today. The ceremony is a potent reminder that it is almost five years since those fifty-five devastating summer days when Cyclone Yasi struck the north of our State and the south-east suffered one of the most devastating floods in Queensland’s recorded history.
While memories of the events themselves are now beginning to fade into history, our gratitude for the exceptional response of the Red Cross has certainly not diminished.
During and after that National Emergency period, more than seventy-five thousand Queenslanders were helped through the thirty-four evacuation centres and seven cyclone shelters managed by Red Cross staff and volunteers. It was a truly remarkable response.
As our Governor and the Queen’s representative in this State, Paul is able to speak for all Queenslanders and he has asked me to pass on his thanks, on their behalf, for the contribution you made to that magnificent effort and to congratulate you on being nominated for this special award.
To date, there have been only two natural disasters for which the National Emergency Medal has been awarded – Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires in the summer of 2009, and Queensland’s summer of sorrows. It is indeed a special award, and I trust you will always wear it with pride, remembering that the eucalyptus green of its ribbon represents Australia, and the gold of the medal and its ribbon symbolise not only Australian sunshine, but optimism and hope.