Burketown Community Afternoon Tea
Good afternoon, everyone – and thank you for your warm and generous welcome.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands of this region. Their contributions are enormously important to our State, and understanding who we are as Queenslanders.
Kaye and I are delighted and excited to be making our very first visit to the Gulf savannah country and to Burketown.
Against all odds, this remarkable settlement has survived extreme heat, drought, flooding and isolation on one of Australia’s most remote frontiers for more than a hundred and fifty years. It is an exceptional story, but one which leaves us in awe of the skills and knowledge of the first Australians who managed these lands and waters for thousands of years before Robert O’Hara Burke reached the Gulf coast.
Yesterday, Kaye and I were in Normanton and today, after morning tea with the Councillors of Carpentaria Shire and the local community, we flew into Burketown for an interesting cruise from Gumbamundda Bridge to the new wharf, while being briefed by Indigenous land and sea rangers.
Since Billy Jackson expertly delivered us to the pontoon, barely an hour ago, we have had very productive discussions with the Burke Shire Council and the Isolated Children’s Parents Association. Our tour will continue tomorrow in Karumba, and on Monday in Doomadgee.
You may ask how much it is possible to absorb in just five days in this vast region. The answer is simple: ‘a great deal’. Kaye and I will continue to be well-informed, committed advocates for this region, with unforgettable memories of the wonderful people of the Gulf communities.
Their resilience, their dedication to their communities, and their love of this region are an inspiration to every Queenslander.