Official Launch of the Moreton Bay Foundation
Members for Clayfield and Oodgeroo, Mr Tim Nicholls and Dr Mark Robinson; Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Mr Siganto, for your kind introduction, and for the invitation to join you today.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and seas around Brisbane, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is a pleasure to be with you today for this important event centred on the importance of science and its contribution to our guardianship of the environment.
As it happens, I bring with me today a significant – and perhaps little-known – history of Queensland vice-regal connections with both these disciplines.
Sir William MacGregor, Governor from 1910 to 1916, had earlier in his career supported research that confirmed the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malaria.
Governor Sir John Goodwin, who served from 1927 to 1932, supported the establishment of the National Parks Association of Queensland and created nature walks in the ten hectares of remnant bush in the Government House estate.
And Sir Matthew Nathan, Governor from 1920 to 1925, chaired the first Great Barrier Reef Committee at The University of Queensland and played an important role in getting under way the first true scientific studies of the Reef.
Our focus today, however, is even closer to home – the waters and coastlines that comprise Moreton Bay, aptly described by the Foundation as a ‘unique jewel’.
My tour of the Bay early in my governorship with the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard reinforced for me a connection with the Bay that began when I was much younger, ‘messing around’ in small sailing boats in these waters.
But anyone who has swum on the shores of Moreton Bay, sailed its waters, marvelled at its flora and fauna, or encountered the cultures of its Indigenous peoples, would surely agree with the description: ‘jewel’.
The Bay’s 360 islands and complex waterways spread over 3,400 square kilometres boast a Marine Park, National Parks, wetlands of national significance, and significant populations of a number of threatened species.
The Bay is a major recreational asset for hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders who live within reach of its waters, and the site of a busy port. It is of immense cultural importance to our First Nations people.
Enhancing our understanding of this ‘unique jewel’ promises to better inform discussion on and decisions about the future of the Bay.
I welcome the Foundation’s goals of making a major contribution to these discussions and decisions.
And I wish the Foundation every success in establishing itself as an eminent and influential voice that is respected by all those for whom Moreton Bay holds such great importance.
On that positive note, it is with great pleasure that I now officially launch the Moreton Bay Foundation.