Official Opening of the 46th State Conference of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (Queensland)
Thank you, Madam President, for your kind introduction. We are fortunate today to have in attendance many representatives drawn from our State and Federal Parliaments; our Mayor, Councillor Marsh; and many other distinguished guests – I acknowledge you all.
I at once now acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands around St George, and pay respects to Elders, past and present.
I am very honoured to be following in the distinguished footsteps of no fewer than four of my vice-regal predecessors or their spouses in officially opening the annual conference of the Queensland Branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.
It is a source of additional pride that we gather in the hall – formerly known as the St George Town Hall – which was officially opened by our thirteenth Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, on his visit here in 1925.
In the interests of full disclosure, and as I advised students at St George State High School yesterday, Governor Nathan had granted on that visit the children of the region a public holiday – our parents here today would, I suspect, be relieved to learn the Governor no longer has that power!
The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association was formed in Bourke in New South Wales in 1971, with the specific purpose of obtaining “equal justice for every school child isolated by distance”.
That very same year, branches formed here in Queensland, along with the State’s first ICPA (pron. I-C-P-A) Council, led by Life Member Mr Eric “Bunny” Powne.
The children and young people of regional and remote parts of our State are very fortunate for the decision to bring ICPA to Queensland.
Over the past 46 years, the Association has been instrumental in advocating for a variety of initiatives which meet their educational needs.
Kaye and I met your President, Mrs Kim Hughes, and members of the State Council, in Burketown in April last year during our tour of communities in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
We were fortunate then to hear first-hand of the many contemporary issues confronting the Association’s 1200 member families, across 46 branches, not least of which was telecommunications access and teacher resourcing.
I know that these issues, and many more, will be robustly discussed over the next two days on the conference floor, centred on the theme ‘Inspiration through education’.
There is also a wonderful social aspect to these conferences, providing as they do so beneficially the opportunity for you all to reaffirm and forge new friendships.
What you do as parents, as directors of this Association, as mentors to so many other parents, is potentially inspirational – and I am confident it is in fact. Having lived in the country, I have some little appreciation of the demands of educating young Queenslanders outside cities and towns. That as parents you take on this responsibility so willingly, and with such commitment, simply enthrals me. Thank you.
And I must thank and commend the current ICPA Queensland State Council for the continuation of these highly valuable conferences. They are important, through the exchange of information and ideas, to ensuring the quality of the offering, to minimise any lack of opportunity for our children educated remotely.
I further thank all delegates and stakeholders for their attendance, many of whom have travelled frankly extraordinary distances to be here.
Kaye and I are confident that your investment of time will be returned many times over in the outcomes secured, outcomes which ultimately go to advancing a better future for all Queenslanders.
It is now with great pleasure that I declare officially open this 46th State Conference of the Queensland Branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.