Afternoon Tea for National Palliative Care Week
Distinguished guests, all. It is a great pleasure for Kaye and me to welcome you here to Government House for this special afternoon tea to mark National Palliative Care Week and to thank the many individuals and organisations who are committed to making a difference to the lives of people suffering from life-limiting illness.
The range of guests represented here today is evidence of the breadth and depth of this sector in our State, and the extent of your compassionate reach, from services in hospitals and hospices to residential facilities, specialist clinics and government agencies.
I commend you all for the important work you are doing to raise community awareness and understanding of palliative care, and to encourage us to plan ahead for end-of-life care for ourselves and for those we love, whatever their age or condition.
Palliative Care Queensland has adopted a simple and powerful question as its theme for this week: What matters most?
It is a theme that focuses our attention on what would be most important to us if we, or someone close to us, were to become seriously ill. It also encourages us to consider the all-important conversations we need to have with our friends, families and health professionals, if life is to be lived to the full, to the end.
Because these conversations can be confronting and the decisions difficult, procrastination and avoidance are common, but it is here that Palliative Care Queensland plays a vital role. Their excellent online resources include discussion-starters and compelling personal stories; and their social media platforms encourage people to share their experiences.
The commitment of Palliative Care Queensland is driven in part by the research of Australia’s Productivity Commission, which shows that, of the 160,000 Australians who die every year, the vast majority — up to 87 per cent — could benefit from high quality end-of-life care.
That single statistic is a powerful reminder that dying, death and bereavement are inevitable parts of the human condition and high quality palliative care can greatly reduce the associated pain and distress for both the individuals concerned and their loved ones.
I congratulate Palliative Care Queensland on its thirtieth year of supporting Queenslanders and I wish the organisation well in its efforts, this week and into the future, to help build communities that are resilient, aware, and better prepared for that inevitability.