Gladstone Community Welcome Reception
Mr Mayor; Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the region, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Thank you for welcoming us to Gladstone, for this, our second vice-regal visit to your wonderful city. Kaye and I are delighted to basing our Government House operations here this week, so we can take more time to explore your region.
This is our sixth Regional Government House undertaking, and while the shift from Fernberg does entail some dedicated behind the scenes organisation, I find it an extremely valuable way for us to understand more about local challenges and to help celebrate local triumphs.
Since its earliest days, Gladstone has embraced a spirit of outstanding, industrious enterprise. This is reflected in its determined growth and continuing development.
Earlier today, Mayor Burnett and Councillors briefed me about the exciting initiatives Council is developing; tomorrow morning I will meet with industry and business leaders.
The fusion of the progressiveness of industry, and the wisdom of a rich history – not to mention proximity to a multitude of beautiful waterways – injects Gladstone with a tremendous dynamism, which is what attracts people to visit, and to make this place their home.
Gladstone boasts one of Australia’s most important export ports, and the wider region holds global significance for its contribution to the resources sector – yet you are ideally located to access the natural delights of the Southern Great Barrier Reef and wilderness areas.
You are well connected to the vibrant entertainment and cultural opportunities afforded by a vibrant regional city, yet you can also enjoy a myriad of recreational water-based activities.
Indeed, your love for the sea leads me to understand you have one of the highest boat ownerships per capita in Australia – a statistic I am looking forward to verifying when I visit the Gladstone Marina tomorrow!
It was therefore disappointing that this year’s iconic Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was cancelled for the first time in its long history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is but one example of the many disruptions this has caused for your community.
This latest crisis, together with drought and the continuing recovery from 2018’s devastating fires (and again late last year) have all combined to create unforeseen challenges.
This is when your community’s determination shines its brightest.
It is an honour to be based here, and on behalf of all Queenslanders, to thank you again for the important contribution you make to our State.