Community Afternoon Reception in Yeppoon
Assistant Minister; Mayor and fellow Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your warm welcome. I am delighted to be back in Yeppoon and it is a great pleasure for me to host this event.
Since arriving here, it is very clear to me that the wellbeing of your residents is a driving force central to your community. Earlier this afternoon I saw examples of this ethos when I visited Farnborough State School, and later at The Hub when I was briefed by members of the Livingstone Council and the Local Disaster Management Group.
Fostering values of care and concern for others takes time to establish – probably generations. It is this intergenerational neighbourly attitude, uniting kind and thoughtful people such as you, that makes me so proud to be Governor of this tremendous State.
Any mention of Yeppoon and the Livingstone Shire usually evokes images of the Capricorn Coast – Byfield’s rainforests and exotic marine life swimming against coral backgrounds.
Speaking of Byfield, I vividly recall visiting Byfield State School in 2015 – a first ever vice-regal visit to that School. An extraordinary privilege – perfectly turned out young students, notwithstanding the recency of the devastating Cyclone Marcia.
Kaye and I hosted a reception in 2015 at Government House for cyclone affected residents, many from Yeppoon. As luck would have it, torrential rain prevented many of them flying to Brisbane. Many in this hardy group stayed put in Yeppoon, dressed up, and held their own celebration.
You indeed live in an extraordinary part of Queensland.
Last November, that idyllic image of this Shire was temporarily shattered and replaced with scenes of a horrifying bushfire that moved with such ferocity it devastated much of the area and destroyed many of your homes.
As I watched the unfolding coverage, it was obvious you were facing an incredibly dangerous and frightening event. To be amongst such brave and courageous Queenslanders is truly humbling.
The catastrophic fires were at times impossible to control, despite well-rehearsed preparation.
However, throughout this unpredictable and treacherous period, people’s safety remained paramount. This is a testament to a close-knit community that cares about the welfare of others.
I thank our incredible firefighters – so many of whom are local volunteers. In terrifying circumstances you did your utmost to hold intensely powerful fires at bay. I further commend the outstanding work of the other emergency services and the Livingstone Disaster Management Group who supported a coordinated approach to the unprecedented challenges you faced.
A strong community focus is vital in times of disaster and essential for the recovery process. Many of you have lost homes and other property. Businesses and incomes have been impacted. This has been a difficult and testing period for you all. Your unswerving concern for those around you helps the past traumas fade and allows daily life to regain equilibrium.
On behalf of all Queenslanders thank you for exemplifying what a caring community means.