Whitsunday Regional Council Community Event – Airlie Beach
Thank you Deputy Mayor; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys. Kaye and I were delighted to receive the invitation from the Whitsunday Regional Council to attend this afternoon’s community reception, and I thank the Council for giving us such a marvellous opportunity to meet our fellow Queenslanders. I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands, and seas, around this region, and express respect to Elders, past and present.
Our visit to the Whitsundays is part of a commitment I made, two years ago, to move the operations of Government House to a regional centre for a week each year to give Kaye and me a better understanding of the challenges faced by regional communities and of the contribution they make to our great State.
In twenty-fifteen, the inaugural Regional Government House was held in Cairns, and last year, our base in Longreach enabled us to travel to eight remote communities and towns.
This year, we have brought Regional Government House to the Mackay region, including our glorious Whitsundays.
Since we arrived there on Thursday afternoon, we have had a tightly packed and varied program – we’ve been briefed by the Mackay and Whitsunday Regional Councils; we’ve visited a Scout Group, a school, many local businesses, and port and tourism facilities; I’ve officially opened the new lookout at Lambert’s Beach in Mackay; I’ve given numerous media interviews; and I’ve kept in touch with my office in Brisbane via video-conference.
Earlier today, we visited emergency services personnel in Proserpine, and before we leave Airlie Beach tomorrow, we will be inspecting the major islands with Councillor Clifford and representatives of the Queensland Police Service.
Such busy programs of visits and meetings give Kaye and me a unique opportunity to meet and learn from our fellow Queenslanders.
They also enable us to offer support and encouragement in difficult times.
We are very much aware that this community and the economy of the Whitsundays suffered greatly when Cyclone Debbie made landfall barely four months ago, and we know that recovery will be a long and challenging process.
But our brief time here in Proserpine and Airlie Beach has demonstrated to us very clearly that it is not just the islands, the resorts and the magnificent climate that have made this region one of the State’s top tourist destinations – it is the resilient and determined people of the Whitsundays.
We wish everyone well in rebuilding the region’s resources and economy, and thank you again for your warm welcome and generous hospitality.