Afternoon Tea in Support of Council on the Ageing (Queensland)
Chair, Mr Peter Howells; CEO, Mr Mark Tucker-Evans; supporters; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I welcome you to Government House this afternoon as we join with Council on the Ageing, Queensland to reflect on the theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons, “The Journey to Age Equality”.
This year’s United Nations theme highlights many of the complexities of ageing.
I know that in the room today we have representatives from a broad range of professional areas committed to ensuring the lives of older Queenslanders are improved. I take this opportunity now to thank you for all your efforts.
Together with exploring those challenges, today also has an important celebratory complexion – shining a light on what makes older people valuable and vital members of our communities.
In my travels throughout this State, I have the pleasure, with Kaye, of meeting a significant number of mature Queenslanders from all walks of life (being in my eighth decade now, I am well qualified to call them ‘my fellow’ mature Queenslanders!).
They are not an homogeneous group. They are individuals, with differing abilities and skills – whether they are still working or retired or somewhere in between – each contributing to and enriching our State.
Whether they are earning the highest accolades through our Honours awards system, or are organising morning tea at a local event in a small rural town (you really can’t beat those QCWA scones!) older Queenslanders show tremendous passion and pride for their communities.
Indeed, their contribution cuts across every conceivable aspect of our society.
They underpin our State’s volunteer system. They hold crucial knowledge and experience gathered from a lifetime of learning. They are instrumental in shaping today’s Queensland, and projecting us towards a thriving future.
It is therefore with pride that, as Patron, I acknowledge the important work being done by COTA Queensland (pron. Coe-tah). Their vision sees ageing as “a time of possibility, opportunity and influence”. I applaud their work in altering perceptions and bring about lasting positive change for older Queenslanders.
I commend the COTA Board, the Executive and all committed staff, members and valued volunteers for their efforts to build an age-friendly Queensland, where “all people can live, learn, work and play” with fairness and dignity. Thank you all for being here today.