Dinner in recognition of natural disaster supporters
Good evening . . .
Firstly, thank you to Tom, Sam, Jacob and Rory, the four wonderful performers from the Queensland Youth Orchestra, a world-class youth orchestra based here in Brisbane, of which I am proud to be Patron.
They will continue to provide musical entertainment throughout the evening – this is somewhat of a first, in recent years anyway, with a true Queensland accompaniment to a Queensland dinner, and especially memorable with it being provided by our talented youth.
Minister and Mrs Crawford, we are honoured by your presence, for yourselves of course, and also as you represent our government, which we know takes the welfare of our citizens in times of disaster management very seriously.
And ladies and gentlemen, Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to Government House, and to this historic room, in a house that businessman Johann Heussler built for his family in 1865.
Queensland families, their homes and livelihoods, have been more than ever on our minds of late.
As you know too well, the long drought is still holding much of the State in its vice-like grip.
Fires burned through large tracts of Central Queensland late last year, and record-breaking deluges brought devastating floods to Townsville and to the Far North, North West and Central West of the State last month.
Kaye and I have seen first-hand the scale of the damage to lives, livelihoods and property.
I was in Townsville, Hughenden, Richmond and Julia Creek recently, visiting communities affected by unprecedented flooding.
Earlier, I travelled to communities in Central Queensland whose lives and property had been affected by the ferocious fires of late 2018.
All of this, with the most generous and assiduous support of General Smith.
And only this week, I spoke to some of our regional Mayors, sending the support and best wishes of all Queenslanders as Tropical Cyclone Trevor approached communities across the Far North of the State.
For many, this is the third major weather event they have endured this season, as the Premier noted at her meeting with me this morning, and our thoughts remain with those communities tonight.
Of course, Kaye and I have travelled extensively in drought-affected parts of the State for some considerable time.
We have been witness to inspirational strength and resilience within these communities – the steely determination to overcome severe losses and setbacks, to recover and rebuild.
But they have not had to meet these challenges alone.
Emergency services personnel, the Queensland Police Service, and the Australian Army have done their utmost to save others from danger, be it raging waters or fires.
Organisations represented in this room have provided practical assistance, comfort, and hope, drawing on deep experience and an equally deep well of compassion.
May I be pardoned for making particular mention of The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Uniting Care, along with the Australian Red Cross and Queensland Country Women’s Association – both of which Kaye is proud to represent as State Patron.
And what about the great support of GIVIT!
They have channelled the generosity of Queenslanders to communities and areas that need it most.
Importantly, all levels of Government continue to support relief and recovery efforts, and I acknowledge and thank the Queensland Government for its ongoing commitment to our communities.
Indeed, we continue to hold our fellow Queenslanders affected by these disasters firmly in heart and mind.
But it is also right and timely for us to extend our wholehearted and abiding appreciation to your organisations’ executive, staff and volunteers, who have stepped up so magnificently to aid their fellow Queenslanders in times of great need.
Kaye and I simply ask for your support in ensuring that your colleagues throughout Queensland know and understand the depth of that gratitude and admiration.