Townsville Community Reception
Mayor, Councillor Jenny Hill, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Les Walker, Chair Queensland Reconstruction Authority Major General Richard Wilson AO (Retd), Ladies and gentlemen, friends, welcome.
I at once acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we gather, I pay my respects to their Elders, and indeed all Elders and those who have travelled to be here today.
Undoubtedly one of the most important roles and indeed great pleasures of carrying out my duties as Governor of Queensland is travelling the length and breadth of this great state and meeting the many wonderful, inspiring and interesting people who live here.
There are times when those meetings revolve around joyous occasions and celebrations. At other times, Kaye and I travel the state meeting with people adversely affected, those for whom ill-circumstance and misfortune have befallen their lives.
It was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said:
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Recent events in this region have indeed tested the strength, courage and confidence of its people. The bravest among us are sensible to fear the awesome power of fire and flood. I use the word awesome here in its original context of “extremely daunting” as indeed these recent catastrophic weather events have been.
And yet looking around this room and speaking with you today, I see people who have not lost hope, who have not had their spirit broken; I see people who are resolute, strong and courageous.
This was the same spirit I witnessed when I visited Townsville in February to meet with people from disaster and recovery centres and schools immediately following the floods.
It is a great testament to the people of Queensland that in times of adversity our citizens and residents band together, they support neighbours and friends, acquaintances and even strangers. In facing the hard times, we face them together.
And as Eleanor Roosevelt said, we can take the next thing that comes along. Although I am sure we are all hopeful, that the “next thing” is less catastrophic.
Importantly, all levels of Government continue to support relief and recovery efforts, and I acknowledge and thank the Queensland Government and the Townsville City Council for their ongoing commitment to our communities.
Today’s reception is an opportunity to thank you, and the organisations and communities you represent, and acknowledge your strength and resilience and your steely determination to overcome severe losses and setbacks, to recover and rebuild.
It is right and timely for us to extend our wholehearted and abiding appreciation for all you have done, and continue to do, to support relief and recovery efforts, drawing on deep experience and an equally deep well of compassion.
In closing, I say thank you to each and every one of you, for your fortitude and courage in facing recent fires and floods and for being here today to momentarily pause as the recovery and reconstruction of Townsville continues.
On behalf of all Queenslanders I wish you all the very best as you maintain the enormous community effort required for the recovery process. Our thoughts are still with you.