RACQ Honorary Life Member and Past Presidents’ Dinner
Thank you, Mr President, for your kind introduction. I too acknowledge Group CEO, Mr Gillespie, other senior representatives of this foundational Queensland institution, our Honorary Life Members, ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I are delighted to join you for the RACQ Honorary Life Member Dinner.
The tremendous scope of the RACQ’s work was brought home to us during our official visit to Cape York in June.
We were traveling between Cooktown and Hope Vale on the newly sealed road, and the comment was made that the local RACQ service was particularly pleased that the roadworks were nearly complete.
As I surveyed the dense bush, I could certainly see how sealing the road would reduce the potential for motoring misadventure.
Our driving companion added “and fewer encounters with crocodiles, too!”
Such is the life of a Breakdown Assistance team in our Far North!
For more than 1.6 million Queenslanders, the RACQ is the membership they “wouldn’t be without”.
Today, as we go about celebrating the contributions in particular of our Honorary Life Members, it is timely to celebrate the positive impact of the RACQ on the life of the State.
There is a thread of altruism which connects so many of the Club’s activities, such as the Club’s 1910 day of merry-go-rounds and morning tea for youngsters from the Alexandra Children’s Home – a wonderful example of the Club’s broad community mission, to the RACQ Foundation, which has dispensed more than $7 million to help community groups in Queensland recover from severe weather events.
Like many dynamic organisations, the RACQ has changed and evolved over time, its reach extending now well beyond the motoring sphere into Home Assistance, insurance, travel, and community outreach, conspicuously through rescue helicopter support.
Over the past twelve months, a very significant change has included the merger with QT Mutual Bank. Mergers are complex undertakings, and I congratulate the Board and Executive on this successful conclusion.
On a lighter note, I saw that RACQ Living recently launched a Pet Section, with a competition to have your pet featured on the cover of the Road Ahead magazine.
We are too late to enter Gavel, the German Shepherd puppy fostered by Government House, who turned out to be manifestly unsuited to his intended role as a police dog, but is adapting well to the newly created position of ‘Vice Regal Dog’.
Rather unexpectedly, Gavel went viral – no, not a cautionary tale for the veterinary advice column; but viral in the social media sense, with his career change reported as far afield as Germany, the United States and Brazil.
I thought that if anyone would appreciate this tale of adapting to the unexpected, it would be the RACQ, which has been adapting with aplomb to changing road, weather, social and economic conditions in Queensland for more than a century.
I thank all our Honorary Life Members for their contribution to this community and motoring icon, and wish the RACQ continuing success in all its endeavours. Thank you.