Cairns GC2018 Commonwealth Games Reception
Our hosts, the Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, the Honourable Kate Jones MP and the Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Councillor Bob Manning OAM; the Honourable the Speaker, Mr Curtis Pitt MP; Minister Crawford; Mr Warren Entsch, representing the Prime Minister; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen,
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of Cairns, and express my respect and sincere thanks to the Elders for their Welcome to Country.
Kaye and I are delighted to join you for this community celebration of the Commonwealth Games.
Far North Queensland has embraced the spirit of the Commonwealth Games, beginning with the great enthusiasm and interest which infused the region as the Queen’s Baton Relay passed through last month.
Kaye and I have been enthralled since Saturday to witness some engrossing basketball competition – and exceptional talent, with the great performance by the Opals last night against Canada, the Men’s England/India event on Saturday, and now we look forward very much to the Men’s New Zealand/Canada game this evening. We are on the way to becoming basketball aficionados – as spectators that is, not players.
With the basketball competition now well underway in Cairns, this great city has become part of the biggest sporting event our State of Queensland has ever hosted – over 6,600 athletes and officials, with a broadcast audience of up to 1.5 billion people in 71 Commonwealth countries and territories.
Many here will have already witnessed the speed, strength and athletic prowess of the basketballers – including our own Boomers – as they thunder up and down the court.
Uniquely, spectators at the games in Cairns are sharing that experience with broadcast audiences from Nigeria to Jamaica, from Canada to India.
That is the spirit of the Commonwealth in action – bringing Commonwealth nations together through sport, and ‘sharing the dream’ of the 21st Commonwealth Games.
But the Games also provide an unparalleled opportunity for the region to project its stunning natural attractions, the natural warmth of its people, and the richness of its indigenous cultures, to the enormous national and international audience that the Games reach.
I’m pleased to note that the region is taking full advantage of that opportunity.
Now while sport occupies centre stage, there is also Festival 2018, a full schedule of performances and exhibitions for the Cairns community to enjoy.
They include many events that reflect the rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage of the region.
This represents another way in which the 2018 Commonwealth Games seeks to leave a legacy, along with the Games Reconciliation Action Plan, which is already bringing benefits for indigenous communities in terms of employment, work experience, and skills development.
Speaking for all Queenslanders, I thank the Games organisers, the Queensland Government, Cairns City Council, the wonderful volunteers, and all those who have made possible these Games events in Cairns.
Their hard work and enthusiasm have made Cairns an integral part of the success of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
May I conclude by observing, as Governor of the State, how reassuring it is to see the Games events taking place in Regional Queensland, centred of course on the Gold Coast; but including, over the last few days, Far Northern and Northern Queensland, all regions so important to the development and psyche of our State and its people.