Business South Bank Annual Leadership Breakfast
Business South Bank Chair, Mr John Barton and CEO, Ms Janine Watson; Vice Chancellor and President of Griffith University, Professor Carolyn Evans; our MC, Ms Jessica Van Vonderen; distinguished panellists; all other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
It is a great honour to join you all this morning for Business South Bank’s annual leadership breakfast.
Just over three decades ago, on the 20th of June 1991, Queensland’s then Governor Sir Walter Campbell addressed a crowd of 50,000 people, excitedly waiting in brilliant winter sunshine, for the official opening of the South Bank Parklands.
Just before unveiling a plaque, Sir Walter remarked that the “forward-looking, visionary and optimistic" 100 million dollar redevelopment of the World Expo 88 site had “captured some of the spirit and excitement of Expo and would be a magnet drawing interstate and international visitors.”
Ladies and gentlemen, despite the best efforts recently of mother nature, I have no hesitation in saying this vision has been wonderfully fulfilled.
Now Sir Walter’s comments in 1991 were particularly directed towards the South Bank Parklands.
And while the Parklands remain the jewel in the crown of this inner South precinct, his comments – of a visionary, forward-looking and optimistic network of public spaces – could equally apply to the entire geographic catchment, including South Brisbane, West End, Woolloongabba and parts of the CBD, which is now so fortunate to have a united ‘voice’ through Business South Bank.
Since it was formed in 1999, Business South Bank has expanded not only its geographical coverage, but also its membership base, which now stands at 150 businesses and organisations representing a workforce of approximately 15,000 people.
By population, that effectively makes the combined workforce of members Queensland’s 18th largest town – and one which makes an incredible economic and social contribution to our State, through its network of tertiary hospitals, education facilities, major office blocks and hotels, stadia, an impressive dining precinct and this amazing, world-class conference centre we gather in this morning.
I think I am safe in also saying it would be the only Queensland locality with its own inner-city beach and ferris wheel!
Of course, there is much more to this special urban community than bricks and mortar alone.
A community is nothing without caring individuals who share a common purpose.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen remarkable community spirit in action in an around the South Bank precinct, with residents uniting with strangers, authorities and community organisations to provide comfort and assistance after the floods.
I particularly thank the business owners and industry leaders, so many of whom are here today and some of whom personally suffered from flooding, who have led efforts to rebuild and restore a sense of normalcy for the benefit of the entire South East population.
I am keenly aware you all take your commitment to promoting cohesion through enterprise very seriously.
Every re-opening of a flooded café, hotel or carpark is a sign of progress, and underscores the strength and sense of purpose of this vitally important part of Queensland.
I further acknowledge the work of Business South Bank in providing practical and moral support for its members, firstly throughout the pandemic and now the floods.
Finally, I thank everyone in the audience for taking to time to attend this breakfast.
If the impressive line-up of current and past panellists is anything to go by, these annual events are a highly valued part of the annual South Bank calendar.
I wish you all a rewarding morning, as you continue to reflect on and celebrate the far-reaching social and economic contributions to our State of the entire South Bank precinct. Thank you.