Sunshine Coast Community Reception
Former Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, and Member for Maroochydore, Ms Fiona Simpson; Member for Kawana, Mr Jared Bleijie; Member for Buderim, Mr Brent Mickelberg; Member for Nicklin, Mr Marty Hunt; Sunshine Coast Mayor, Councillor Mark Jamieson and fellow Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; and students!
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around the Sunshine Coast, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
What a pleasure it is for Kaye and me to be visiting the wonderful Sunshine Coast again.
This is our 15th official visit to your region, but like so many other Queenslanders, we have made many leisure trips here over the years.
And for good reason, with stunning beaches and hinterland, thriving city centres and charming towns (I was in Kenilworth just last month to open the centenary Show and Rodeo – I resisted the temptation to try the 1-kilogram doughnut, by the way!).
But this region is also home to each of you, and I am sure you could list a myriad of reasons why you choose to live, learn, work and play here.
Speaking of happy Coastal memories, I fondly recall walking along Dicky Beach as a child with my mother. This was before the term ‘Sunshine Coast’ entered our lexicon – now, that instantly dates me! My mother and I would admire ‘Currimundi House’, the oceanside private residence of then Queensland Governor, Sir Leslie Wilson and Lady Wilson. We are delighted to have here tonight Sir Leslie and Lady Wilson’s granddaughter, also Lesley, who still calls the Coast home!
Indeed, the broader mix of people at this evening’s reception amply represents both your region’s diversity, and your shared commitment to ensuring it remains such a special place.
Whether you are still at school – and I must say I am very pleased to see so many students joining us tonight – actively involved in the workforce, or generously volunteering, you share a passion for the people and places that distinguish this region as unique.
This passion was obvious during the recent fires that tore through areas in the north of this Council and into the Noosa Shire. The entire region felt the terror and heartache being suffered by those directly affected, as indeed did all Queenslanders.
I thank and applaud the emergency services for their incredible efforts in saving lives and property under such challenging circumstances. I further acknowledge everyone for their sterling response and recovery efforts.
As we gather tonight, further Queensland communities, especially near Laidley, are under direct fire threat. I know you will join Kaye and me in keeping these communities in our thoughts and prayers.
In addition, I am sure you also share a desire to see the Sunshine Coast continuing to prosper and becoming even more vibrant as it grows.
Earlier today, I received a detailed briefing from Mayor Jamieson and Councillors, and tomorrow, Kaye and I will be seeing some of the exciting projects underway in the region: the Blue Heart Project, the Maroochydore City Centre Development and the Sunshine Coast Submarine Cable Station Landing.
We also visit two outstanding local educational institutions –Palmwoods State School and the University of the Sunshine Coast (where we will meet the Lightning Netball team) – and spend time at Daniel House, which does so much to help keep our children safe.
Given the packed schedule we have planned over this two-day visit, it will easy to find new reasons for us to return!
This evening, on behalf of all Queenslanders, Kaye and I thank you and, indeed all people of the Sunshine Coast, for your contribution to ensuring this region remains a favourite for generations to come.