Regional Government House: Weipa Community Reception
Chair, Mr Michael Rowland, and fellow Weipa Town Authority representatives; Councillors from Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council; Royal Australian Air Force representatives; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for your warm welcome to Weipa – ‘The Capital of the Cape’!
Kaye and I are delighted to be here with you this afternoon.
I at once acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, and pay respect to their Elders past and present – with encouragement to their young emerging leaders.
This visit is part of an important commitment I made in 2015 to move the operations of Government House from Brisbane to other parts of Queensland for one week each year.
The program – Regional Government House – gives Kaye and me a better understanding of the challenges facing communities such as yours.
It is also an excellent opportunity to recognise the contributions our regions make to the advancement and prosperity of our State.
While bauxite mining remains an important source of income and employment in Weipa, I am aware that beef cattle grazing and tourism are also industries of significance.
Many people travel into Weipa during the dry season on their way to the top of Cape York Peninsula, where they admire its stunning natural beauty and learn more about the region’s rich cultural heritage.
These visits remind us of the sheer size and diversity of Queensland.
With a footprint of more than 1.8 million square kilometres, we are the second-largest State in Australia.
More than half of Queensland’s 5 million-strong population reside outside the greater metropolitan area of Brisbane.
Yet no matter how far apart we live, we all stand united as proud Queenslanders.
I have tremendous respect for the people of Weipa who, as historian Geoffrey Blainey famously described it, overcame “the tyranny of distance”, and advanced their community against the constraints of a vast and often unforgiving landscape.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me once again emphasise how grateful Kaye and I are for your hospitality.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, we would like to congratulate you on your marvellous successes and thank you most wholeheartedly for the great things you have done, and will continue to do, for our State.