The 8th General Assembly and International Conference of the Asia Pacific Organisation for Cancer Prevention
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to extend the warmest of welcomes to all conference delegates, whether from near or far, to the State of Queensland. We are delighted to host this highly distinguished gathering in our vibrant capital city.
No doubt the Conference organisers have provided you with information on the many attractions to be found in Brisbane and Queensland – including stunning landscapes, our unique flora and fauna, friendly locals, great food and wine, and excellent weather.
But this audience, at least, will be familiar with one of the features of Brisbane and Queensland that is not so well known.
By that I mean Queensland’s status as a major hub of world-class medical research which, is in turn, supported by close connections with clinicians and public health and educational institutions in our State.
This has been the case for decades and, in the case of our oldest research institute, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, for over seventy years.
As this conference demonstrates, Queensland’s involvement in cancer research and control is carried out in a strong collaborative spirit. In fact, in his letter of invitation to me to open this conference, Professor Jeff Dunn captured this spirit in two words: partnership and engagement.
Our pre-eminent research and clinical institutions have an extensive network of links, both formal and less formal, with similar institutions throughout Australia and overseas. Many of those connections are no doubt represented in this room today.
I speak from some experience on these matters, albeit not as a clinician or researcher.
Prior to my appointment as Governor, I was Chair of the Queensland Cancer Fund, President of the Australian Cancer Society, a Trustee of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and Chair of the QIMR Council.
As Governor, I am Patron of QIMR and the Cancer Council Queensland, both wonderfully effective long-standing initiatives, and I have had the privilege of substantial contact with a broad range of our State’s medical research and health institutions.
And in Hong Kong last year, I saw the spirit of international partnership in action when I witnessed the signing of an agreement between QIMR and the University of Hong Kong on the treatment of Nasopharyngeal (pron. ney-zo fa-rin-gee-al) Carcinoma.
The sum of that experience means simply that I need no convincing of the crucial importance of the work you do, in particular your major focus on reducing the incidence of cancer through the promotion of lifestyle changes, vaccination campaigns, early detection and treatment, and access to the best possible data.
Yours is an endeavour that reaches deeply into the psyche of our communities, wherever they are. For who in our communities does not know a family member, friend, neighbour or colleague whose life has been changed by a cancer diagnosis.
That is why your interactions over the next few days, your drive to build stronger partnerships, are of the highest importance.
As Governor and Patron, I congratulate wholeheartedly the Cancer Council Queensland, the Executive Organising Committee, and the International Advisory Group for their work in organising this very substantial and complex event – no doubt exhausting, but also highly rewarding.
The Cancer Council’s instrumental role in the Conference reflects the esteem in which its work is held, in Queensland, in Australia, internationally.
I thank all delegates, some of whom have travelled long distances, for the time and energy you are investing in this event.
I am confident that participants will find that investment returned many times over by new ideas, energy, connections, and friendships that will ultimately enhance your capacity to serve the health needs of your communities.
I wish you all an enjoyable stay in our marvellous State, and a challenging, inspiring, and productive 8th General Assembly and International Conference. Thank you.