Official Visit to Aratula State School
Good morning everyone. It is a great honour to be here with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Principal Butler, staff and students. Thank you to School Captains, Emma Gill and Yasmyn Philp, for such a warm welcome.
I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, and express respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I are very happy to be back in Aratula and to have the opportunity to pay you a visit today.
There is something very special about ‘small schools.’ While small in number they are invariably big in spirit, and Aratula State School is a great example of this.
As we all know, since last Spring, many parts of Australia have been affected by unprecedented bushfires.
The Scenic Rim was sadly no exception.
Members of your own community came face to face with nature at her most frightening and unpredictable.
Some among you were evacuated.
Others saw parents bravely head out to the fire-front with the Rural Fire Service.
And many of you lived with the reality of fire trucks and closed roads for many weeks.
Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you – like me – have found the bushfires pretty frightening.
I think it’s fair to say most Australians are feeling the same way right now.
We think of precious wildlife that has been lost.
We feel for people who have lost family and friends.
We worry for those who have lost homes and businesses.
So, if you’re feeling that way, remember you are not alone.
At times like these, you are especially lucky to be part of a close community like Aratula.
This wonderful school is full of teachers and friends who have shared this bushfire experience with you – and understand how you might be feeling.
As I said earlier – small schools are big on spirit.
Kaye and I are looking forward to a tour of your refurbished classrooms and to hopefully chatting with some of you along the way. I am also very pleased to be shortly presenting a certificate and gold badge to one student who has obtained the maximum 50 ‘Gotchas’ for excellent behaviour – well done.
Thank you all once again for your warm welcome.