Morning Tea in Support of International Volunteer Day
Volunteering Queensland President, Mr Brett Williamson; representatives from organisations of which Kaye and I are very proud Patrons; Government House Volunteer Guides; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Welcome to Fernberg! Kaye and I are pleased to host this morning tea once again in support of International Volunteer Day, and to recognise outstanding Queensland volunteers.
Kaye and I are very conscious of the enormous contribution volunteers make to Queensland’s economy, culture and communities.
During my term as Governor, it has been my pleasure and privilege to visit almost all of the local government areas of Queensland.
In each place, I see the incredible work done by volunteers in museums, art galleries, sporting organisations, schools and here at Government House! – and witness the impact that volunteers have had in taking care of the beaches, the mountains and the vast natural spaces.
Volunteers have always been greatly valued in Queensland, but this year COVID-19 has thrown into sharp relief just exactly how critical volunteers are to our towns and cities.
Two in three volunteers had to stop or step down from volunteering because of the pandemic – that is an estimated 12.2 million hours per week that were lost.
As a result, many organisations and community activities ground to a halt. This is a testament to the integral and irreplaceable role that volunteers play in the life of our State.
COVID-19 itself has been directly responsible for many new volunteering initiatives, including the Care Army.
As with its forebear, the Mud Army, the people of Queensland lined up to extend a helping hand to those who needed one, and they have our gratitude.
I would like to thank Volunteering Queensland for their part in coordinating the Care Army, and for the pivotal role they play every year in linking volunteers to organisations in need of their time and expertise.
Above all I would like to thank the volunteers of Queensland. You are truly what puts the heart in this State.
The national definition of volunteering is: time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.
We can add to that definition that it is done with no expectation of acknowledgment, or desire for thanks.
But desirous or not, you are most deserving of our thanks, and it is my honour as Governor and Patron of Volunteering Queensland, to sincerely thank you for all that you do.