Mackay Community Reception
Ms Julieanne Gilbert MP, Member for Mackay; Mayor Williamson; Councillors; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are so thrilled that such a broad cross-section of this magnificent City and region could join us tonight, on what is the first full day of our week-long Regional Government House programme based here in Mackay.
I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands around Mackay, and express respect to Elders, past and present.
Kaye’s and my deep and abiding admiration for the people of Queensland – in all corners of our vast State – has grown stronger each and every day of this 26th Governorship – and there have been so far, I am reliably informed, 1,116 of them!
The past twenty-four hours has been but a tiny fraction of that time, but it has been fascinating frankly for us, providing a window into the lives and livelihoods of the wonderful people of the Mackay region.
Last night we visited Mackay Scouts, and earlier today, Mackay Regional Council and Holy Spirit College.
I then officially opened the upgraded Lamberts Lookout, and toured the Port and a sugar mill, and, with Kaye, laid a wreath at the City’s memorial wall in honour Vietnam Veterans.
The weekend’s program encompasses a visit to the Central Business District and opening the Beach Horse Races, and then to Proserpine, Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. On Monday and Tuesday we head inland to Clermont and Moranbah, and further afield to Charters Towers.
In addition to our frequent, shorter visits to regional cities and towns – which we make on an almost weekly basis – Kaye and I made a commitment in 2015 to spend a full week each year governing from a regional area. We first went to Cairns, and last year to Longreach.
We short-listed Mackay for our 2017 programme in the early months of this year.
We had visited many times. The first piece of major infrastructure I opened as Governor was the Council’s water recycling facility in Sarina, and we returned last year to launch Mackay North State High School’s ANZAC centenary tour.
It was during my visit here shortly after Cyclone Debbie’s landfall that I confirmed to Mayor Williamson our intentions to hold this year’s Regional Government House in Mackay.
Our presence therefore partly acknowledges the huge and effective effort of a small army of committed professionals and volunteers who assisted with Cyclone Debbie preparedness, and the ongoing recovery.
We also see our presence here this week as an extension of the Governor’s crucial role in shining light upon communities and industries of State significance.
And so tonight it is particularly fitting that we gather at the Mackay Marina precinct.
The Port of Mackay to our north, and indeed Hay Point to our south, are edifying reminders of the region’s progress, and the industries – especially mining and agriculture – which really go to driving prosperity in our State.
Like the people of this uplifting region, this precinct is also woven tightly into the social history of our State and nation. It was here at that Her Majesty The Queen, Queensland’s Head of State whom I represent, embarked and disembarked respectively on her two visits to this magnificent City in 1954 and 1970.
Mackay’s interconnectedness – to Queensland’s social fabric, and as a State and national economic driver – will be further recognised when the Commonwealth Games baton relay passes through on its way to the Gold Coast in March next year.
Ladies and gentlemen, the strength and resilience of the Mackay region, so evident when Cyclone Debbie struck, emerge from your passion to serve your community.
All of you tonight wonderfully exemplify this disposition, and Kaye and I look forward to supporting you all over the coming week.