Reception in Support of the Blackwater Community
Mayor, Cr Kerry Hayes and fellow Councillors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Thank you for this very warm welcome to Blackwater.
While this is my first official vice-regal visit to your town, this is not the first time I have been in the Central Highlands.
Indeed, one of the very first pieces of infrastructure I opened as Governor, way back in 2015, was the East Nogoa Water Treatment Plant just outside Emerald!
The following year, Kaye and I briefly stopped in Anakie on our way to Longreach aboard the Spirit of the Outback – the historic Vice-Regal Carriages in tow!
Indeed, our arrival into Longreach was delayed slightly after I insisted the residents of Anakie who turned up – about ten from memory – could inspect the Vice-Regal Carriages. What wonderful, happy memories!
I am very glad to be back in this special part of Queensland, and I am especially pleased I could visit Blackwater before my term as Governor ends.
I have made travel to regional cities and towns one of my key priorities as Her Majesty’s representative in Queensland.
This is because I strongly believe in connecting directly with our citizens, no matter where they live.
What has struck me on each regional visit is that, firstly, we have a gloriously beautiful State in the physical sense
From rainforests to desert plains, the coast to inland, tourist towns to working towns like this! Can I say how much pride I have in arriving in regional and remote places and seeing how the natural and built landscapes have been formed around, and influenced the community.
And secondly, it is of course meeting the people of our regional areas which is the greatest joy. Queenslanders are warm-hearted people brimming with community spirit which is nothing short of inspirational.
During times of natural disasters and crisis, we see this community spirit writ large, but I have also seen a kind of quiet community spirit at play too; an everyday spirit which makes our regional towns like Blackwater such attractive places to live.
Of course, in the last year, we have faced the COVID pandemic which has had a huge impact on our way of life and caused hardship for many who were already suffering.
The community here in Blackwater knows only too well how the threat of COVID can change the community in an instant.
Now we face a new challenge as we learn to live in a world with this ongoing pandemic, but in being here today, I can see that like many regional towns in Queensland, Blackwater is a resilient community ready to face whatever lies ahead.
Thank you all for taking the time to come to this reception. I very much look forward to meeting many of you throughout the course of the afternoon, and to spending the next two days here and in Emerald. Thank you.