Community Leaders Luncheon Hosted by Isaac Regional Council
Mayor Baker; Councillors; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are delighted to be here today as guests of the Isaac Regional Council.
I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands around Moranbah, and express respect for Elders, past and present.
We have spent a fascinating morning inspecting the water reservoir and the magnificent new Resource Recovery Centre, and we’re are looking forward to spending time with you all before we head to Clermont this afternoon.
When the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt named the Isaac River in 1845, he could not have imagined that there would, one day, be an Isaac Regional Council, let alone one with a vision of energising the world, or that would embark on a multi-million dollar waste infrastructure project with the State government.
It is a truly magnificent project and I look forward to the announcement of its completion.
Even a man of Leichhardt’s imagination would have found it hard to comprehend this project – or that, today, this region is a major producer of cattle, grain and sugar, with 24 operating coal mines generating a billion dollars in royalties.
Equally he would have been confounded by the Council’s commitment to delivering more than 140 key infrastructure and capital works projects over the next twelve months.
But one thing he would have understood from his expeditions through outback Australia is that this is a harsh, unforgiving and unpredictable land. He would certainly have understood the punishing impact of Cyclone Debbie, which effected the coastal communities, and it is not mentioned as much as it should be, inland communities, including Moranbah, of this region.
It has been heartening for Kaye and me, and for the staff travelling with us, to see the resilience and returning strength and optimism of the community, and it’s very pleasing for us all that, this week, we have been able to base our third annual Regional Government House in Mackay, giving us the opportunity to spend an extended time in this region.
The road to recovery is a long one, but events like the recent Queensland Music Festival performance, with two hundred and fifty performers, are evidence that the spirit of Leichhardt lives on in the perseverance, courage and hope of this region’s communities, and in the strong bonds of kinship, co-operation, and honest friendship that have always characterised our small towns.
We wish you well on the continuing journey of recovery, and thank you again for the invitation to be with you today.