2023 Autism Queensland Recognition Awards Afternoon Tea
Autism Queensland Chair, Mr Neil Makepeace and CEO, Ms Pam Macrossan; staff and volunteers; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
Graeme and I welcome you all to Government House for this afternoon’s very exciting event—the presentation of the 2023 Autism Queensland Recognition Awards.
These special Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of a remarkable group of Queenslanders, whose unique skills and abilities are enriching our State, and encouraging a more interesting and diverse society.
Today we acknowledge the incredible efforts of autistic individuals, as well as those who support them—the parents, carers, professionals, businesses, schools, community organisations and generous volunteers.
I believe that this year almost 100 nominations were received across the publicly nominated categories, and of course, from this huge list, our finalists represent those who have achieved at the very highest of levels.
Together, you are a powerful force—working hard to show that individualism is an immensely valuable commodity that makes our State so much more dynamic.
Your collective endeavours also echo the theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disability, which calls for all of us to work together to make the world better and fairer.
As Patron of Autism Queensland, I know that the quest to promote greater inclusion is one of the organisation’s key objectives, and I am exceptionally proud of the amazing work the organisation does, each and every day, to support autistic children and adults, their families and their wider communities, right across our State.
Along with an extensive range of practical resources, therapies, and the unstoppable drive to further research and development, I know that Autism Queensland is passionate about dismantling the barriers that can place limitations and restrictions on dreams.
Today’s recognition is important, because it demonstrates that your efforts are being seen by others— that you are making a real and tangible difference towards a more tolerant and equitable world. It also helps the broader community better understand the challenges being faced by those on the autism spectrum.
And while there are still obstacles to overcome, events such as this highlight how much stronger we are when we unite to build a greater sense of belonging.
I therefore congratulate each of our finalists for being champions for “participation, opportunity and choice”, and for supporting the broader, global goals of the United Nations.
And, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I commend Autism Queensland, the Board, staff and all your fantastic volunteers, for demonstrating leadership, vision and tireless commitment to those you help.
Graeme and I look forward to meeting you all after the presentation ceremony, as we enjoy one of Government House’s famous afternoon teas.