Bundaberg Civic Reception
Bundaberg Mayor, Councillor Jack Dempsey; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
Graeme and I am delighted to be here as part of our first Vice-Regal visit to Bundaberg Regional Council.
A very important function of the role of the Governor is civic and community engagement, and I relish the opportunity it affords me to meet the people who are the backbone of the places I visit.
Although it is my first official visit since being sworn in as Governor in November last year, the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens is no stranger to Vice-Regal visits. The Gardens were gazetted all the way back in 1894, and in that year, its four trustees were appointed by one of my early predecessors, Governor Sir Henry Wylie Norman.
The connection between Bundaberg and the Governors of Queensland goes back even further than that. You all know The Hummock, of course, but did you know that the lookout was built for and named after Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave, in recognition of his visit in 1888?
Since then, several other Governors have visited Bundaberg, including Governor Sir Herbert Chermside, Governor Penelope Wensley and most recently, my immediate predecessor Governor Paul de Jersey.
We have all taken a keen interest in this region. Through the organisations that I have the honour of being associated with as Patron, I am kept abreast of local concerns.
I am also, of course, acutely aware of the flooding rains you have experienced over the course of this year – and the damage and disruption they caused. I would like to thank all those who worked tirelessly to keep the community safe: Mayor Dempsey and your civic leaders, emergency services personnel and selfless volunteers. Your efforts are truly appreciated.
Bundaberg is one of Australia’s fastest growing regional centres, and over the course of my visit it has become very apparent why that is so.
The region has been blessed with abundant natural beauty and resources, and the Bundaberg people have proven themselves to be astute and innovative caretakers.
Having long been a leading contributor to health, education, and agriculture, the Bundaberg region has now, excitingly, expanded into ag-tech, advanced food, bioproducts and defence.
Tourism remains a booming industry, and Graeme and I are particularly excited to be heading to Bargara this evening for the Sunset Launch of the Milbi Festival, which celebrates Turtles, arts and culture alongside your region’s rich Indigenous heritage.
Thank you for welcoming us both so warmly, and we wish you all every success as you move into the future.