Afternoon Reception in Support of the Bundaberg Community
Mayor, Cr Jack Dempsey and Mrs Dempsey; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I at once acknowledge the traditions owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
I am delighted to again be in wonderful Bundaberg, on my 5th official vice-regal visit to your region.
I have also enjoyed being here on many other “unofficial” occasions, including in 1954 – as a five-year-old – when I glimpsed The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as they were driven around the Showgrounds on the back of an open Jeep.
This memorable event in my life will feature a bit later tonight, too, when the Official Secretary takes the stage.
It is incredible to think that now, in my seventies (I know what you are all thinking, “is it really incredible he is in his seventies?”)…
it is incredible to think I have now had the honour of being Her Majesty’s representative in this State for close to seven years.
The tremendous warmth, enthusiasm and confidence I experienced here as a boy, remain at the heart of your community, and are what we are now celebrating.
These qualities continue to shape, drive and strengthen the enterprises that make this region prosper, and are also called upon when challenges arise.
Indeed, most recently, COVID-19 has cast a long shadow across our State, and I know its effects continue to impact your region.
Yet, I am deeply encouraged by the optimistic passion that has seen Bundaberg continue to develop its key agricultural and horticultural industries, innovate in manufacturing, and strive to maximise livability for residents.
Earlier today I met with Mayor Dempsey and Councillors to learn more about the initiatives planned for the region, visited the life-saving Bundaberg Aeromedical Base and Patient Transfer Facility, and planted a tree as part of the inspiring One Million Trees Project.
I met with children at the Kalkie State School, and admired the patchwork sugarcane fields from the Hummock Lookout.
And of course, I made the obligatory trip to the Bundaberg Rum Factory, which continues to produce and export its iconic, world-renowned spirit.
These are but a small taste of what is on offer here.
From natural wonders, to thriving enterprises, from a rich, textured history, to industry-leading innovation, Bundaberg is a modern city, which values the charm and importance of its traditions.
Indeed, a region’s success depends on the collective endeavours of its people.
All of you here have made a significant effort to promote Bundaberg’s prosperity, and in doing so, have contributed to the wider advancement of our State.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, thank you for ensuring Bundaberg continues to be such a vibrant and industrious place.