Cairns Community Reception
Speech delivered as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:
To our elected representatives, ladies and gentlemen, I acknowledge you all. Kaye and I are absolutely delighted that you have taken time to join us tonight and we thank you most wholeheartedly.
I also pay respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, and their Elders past and present.
This is our fourth visit to Cairns since my being sworn in as your Governor in July last year, our last trip being just last month to attend the Cairns Amateur Carnival, and previously in July, for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. We were so pleased to be able to attend and support these significant events which contribute so much to the region in terms of economic and cultural benefits. We are equally pleased to be here so soon again.
During my inaugural visit as Governor in September last year, I reminisced on times spent in Cairns over the years as Chief Justice, with Kaye and on occasion, my children. So it is not news to you that we value greatly our visits here. Indeed we are delighted to spend more time in the Cairns community, to gain an even broader and deeper understanding of this vibrantly diverse part of the State, and the people who live here.
A rich, genuine understanding of your issues and concerns, your achievements and challenges is important, and that is what this visit is all about – to get to know you all better.
This week long visit is special in that for the first time for Government House, we are conducting the operation regionally, and here in Cairns. So as the Cairns Post put it on Saturday, Cairns is very much centre-stage this week in terms of the government of the State.
Our engagements are many and varied, designed to support Far North Queensland, and enhance our own appreciation of regional issues.
We began our programme on Friday, appropriately, with an Order of Australia Investiture Ceremony for citizens of Far North Queensland – a very moving event. Then followed valuable briefings by Community leaders, at the Port, HMAS Cairns, Cairns International Airport; and then I had the slightly challenging experience of starting the 2015 Crocodile Trophy Cycling Race.
Today launching the Peninsula 14 years and under Boys Cricket Regional Championship, and how uplifting was that followed by a visit to the Queensland Police Service City Beat at the Lagoon – magnificent guardians of community safety. Tomorrow a circuit with our wonderful RFDS to Aurukun, for its clinical work; then on Wednesday the primary and secondary schools of Gordonvale, the Cairns School of Distance Education – great support for the West, JCU, and the opening of the CQU Cairns Campus. And Thursday the Reef – the tourism aspect surpassed by the educative, and I am already assured we are doing all we can to support this great Wonder of the World given into our care.
This last weekend, we experienced the magnificent Daintree – up to Cape Tribulation, and also incomparably, the extraordinary Skyrail – such a tribute to entrepreneurial vision and engineering brilliance, and the Chapman family, iconic of FNQ achievement and contribution.
You will see our programme for Regional Government House in Cairns exhibits diversity and busyness – as it should. We are tremendously pleased to be giving the people of Far North Queensland this commitment.
Recently I was privileged to travel to Hong Kong and Korea, to advocate for and highlight our State’s strengths as a trade and investment partner and as a destination for tourism and education.
I was proud to tell the story of what Queenslanders can offer internationally, and particularly from regional areas such as Cairns, which is growing in capacity to provide a competitive and diversified portfolio of products and services to global markets.
I note too, the optimism of the regional communities of North and Far North Queensland - greatly enhanced no doubt by the result of recent sporting successes - and which generally highlights the sustained and determined effort to succeed and flourish that is so characteristic of this community.
On Friday I met with Mayor Bob Manning and representatives of the Cairns business community. I very much appreciated the insight they provided on “the where we are now and the where to from here” considerations for the Cairns region. I thank them for their generous sharing of knowledge.
Kaye and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the course of the evening and to meeting and talking with many more people over the next few days as part of our official program. For now, do enjoy the hospitality we are so pleased to provide to you, the wonderful people of Cairns.
But first… it is part of the Vice-Regal role to note anniversaries. Last Friday, I was very pleased to acknowledge the birthday of the Mayor Councillor Bob Manning. And tonight, may I say, on behalf of us all, happy birthday to someone who has taken the trouble to come this far from another ‘region’ – Townsville, the Bishop of North Queensland Bill Ray!
Thank you all very much for being here!