Reception for Ekka week
Representing the Premier, Minister Furner; Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Frecklington; RNA Councillors and supporters; ladies and gentlemen.
As Governor of Queensland and RNA Patron I, along with Kaye, once again have the pleasure of a busy Ekka schedule here in Brisbane.
This is a time of significant – and important – celebration not just for our capital city of Brisbane, but for the entire State of Queensland.
As we celebrate for 10 days, it is important to remember that our Ekka is a time to support fellow Queenslanders, and today we are proud to have a number of representatives from our State’s regional Shows with us, along with many people from our agricultural industries and communities.
The fine Australian tradition of the agricultural Show has been part of our national identity since 1822.
Almost 200 years later, Queenslanders continue to display the pride, passion and unique individuality of their communities through hosting agricultural Shows across the State.
Minister Furner was with Kaye and me at the opening of the 148th Dalby Show on 20 April, and then Kaye and I went on to the opening of the 137th Charters Towers Show on 29 July. In between, in mid-June, there was the Sunshine Coast Show. We love these country shows.
With these things in mind, I would like to extend a special welcome to the winner of the Miss Showgirl competition; Mikaela Tapp from Cloncurry; and the runner-up, Georgia Hoolihan from Dirranbandi; and also to the two Rural ambassadors; Miss Brooke Cuddihy from Bell; and Mr Nathan Trace from Nanango.
And this is the occasion to thank Mrs Lorraine Crothers for her years of devoted leadership of this really important Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl program, a program which very importantly upholds our much-valued country shows and communities.
These rural and regional communities continue to struggle through severe drought, with a total of 23 councils and four part council areas now officially drought declared – more than 57 per cent of the land area of our State.
While it is undoubtedly a dour situation, please be assured that we are with you, and that you have the support of all Queenslanders.
I also welcome the many food and wine producers here today, and I hope you are enjoying the hospitality of Fernberg, of which you play an important part.
We take the utmost care in the selection of the food and wine we serve here, ensuring as much produce as possible is sourced from Queensland, and we are frequently complimented by guests on the exceptional quality of our – your – wonderful Queensland produce.
To the many representatives here today from the RNA, you are to be congratulated for the consistent quality of excellence that marks the annual Ekka.
Thank you for creating enduring memories for the people of Brisbane and beyond, and for staying faithful to the aims of the original Ekka.
I wish everyone a highly successful Ekka, and thank you all for joining us today at your Government House.