Afternoon Reception in Recognition of Outstanding Queensland Contributors
Commissioners; Directors-General; Diplomatic representatives; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen,
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Jagera and Turrbal people, and express my respect to elders.
Kaye and I are delighted that so many of you have been able to join us at the start of what promises to be an extraordinary year for our State.
The Commonwealth Games will ensure that the eyes of the world are on Queensland, our state continues to grow at a crisp pace, and in the artistic and cultural spheres, it is genuinely hard to keep up with the wonderfully diverse range of performances, tours and exhibitions.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have brought you together, in part, to acknowledge that these wonderful opportunities for our State and its people do not happen by accident, but through the planning, energy and deft management of thousands of people, and especially, through your professionalism and your dedication as leaders.
In preparing my remarks today, I came across a book published by the Government of Queensland “Our First Half-Century: A Review of Queensland Progress”, published by the Government Printer in 1909.
It points out that when our great departments of state were established, in 1860, “… there was not a mile of railway either open for traffic or under construction; not a mile of electric telegraph wire; nor, save between Brisbane and Ipswich, was there a formed or metalled road… The country was destitute of culverts and bridges over watercourses, and the so-called roads were impassable … after the seasonal rains.
As a colonial ‘Mick Dundee’ might have said, that was a challenge!
As the heirs to those formidable administrators and businesspeople of 1860, I do not doubt your capacity to overcome the challenges of today and to make the very most of these once-in-a-generation opportunities, to the good fortune of the people of Queensland.
What a wonderful State; what wonderful people! On Saturday I unveiled a Cenotaph to the fallen, at Tamborine Village, a most inspiring community initiative led by the Lions; that night, the Ithaca Creek State School’s Swimming Club’s 50th Anniversary: the exuberance, the vitality of our youth; today greeting here 16 students – 10 and 11 years olds from the Port Curtis Road State School, which Kaye and I visited last year outside Rockhampton.
Do you know, they came down yesterday on the tilt-train, and they return tomorrow by air – half of them had never been on a train, and half have never been on a plane.
One little boy, wide-eyed, asked me: “Have you flown on a jet?”
And so our State: enduring and inspiring respect for the legacy and sacrifice of our forebears; embracing the vitality of the present; and acknowledging a veritable paradise of opportunities ahead.
I am extraordinarily optimistic about what 2018 will bring for Queensland, secure in the knowledge that the leaders in our public and private sectors – all of you gathered here today – are exceptionally well qualified to ensure that Queensland is a better place at the end of 2018 that it is now at the beginning.
I thank you most sincerely for all you do for our state, and enjoin you to make the most of our Government House hospitality, so wonderfully presented for your enjoyment by our team led by the Hospitality Services Manager Mr Darren Yeap and our Head Chef Mr Paul Newsham.