Official opening of the Queensland Country Women's Association State conference
Speech by Mrs Kaye de Jersey
Thank you, Mrs Coulson, for your kind introduction, and thank you to everyone who played their part in this morning’s welcome.
I am proud to join you all today as your Patron, and as a fellow Queenslander, to officially open the 96th annual Queensland Country Women’s Association State conference.
The Association is an iconic institution that extends the warm hand of friendship to women from both rural and urban Queensland, as well as communities further afield in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
The QCWA continues to grow in strength, and today thrives across three Regions, 20 Divisions and more than 240 Branches.
Now, some may wonder why this is the case.
You may ask, why is it that an organisation, whose objectives were established almost 100 years ago, has remained fundamentally unchanged when the world we live in today has altered so drastically.
I believe the answer rests with our people, and with our State spirit.
When you look at the very heart of our Queensland communities, the basic wants and needs of people have remained largely unchanged.
And for women in particular, the imperative to reach out and support others in times of need is quite innate.
Of course, there are other constants.
The unique challenges of drought, flood and isolation are as familiar to our remote communities now as they were in 1922, when the QCWA was formed.
Having visited parts of drought-ravaged Queensland throughout the year, Paul and I have witnessed many stories of heartbreak.
Yet we return home feeling far from disheartened.
Indeed, such stories only served to resolve our commitment to organisations like the QCWA, which supports so many women and children across Queensland and beyond.
For our remote and regional communities this continues to be a challenging year.
Despite the latest rains, the ongoing effects of drought – and the sudden brutality of recent storms – still bring hardship and uncertainty.
But amid such uncertainty is a beacon of hope, a beacon that has now shone for almost a century.
The QCWA is an enduring institution that represents the very best of the human spirit.
I am sure the next few days will provoke much lively discussion and debate, as well as offering a chance to connect with and learn from one another.
And so it is now my pleasure to declare the 96th State conference of the Queensland Country Women’s Association officially open.