Guide Dogs Graduation Ceremony
Representing the Leader of the Opposition, Member for Burnett, Mr Stephen Bennett MP; Guide Dogs Queensland President, Mr Richard Anderson OAM; CEO, Mr Michael Kightley; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I first wish to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
It is my pleasure, as both the Governor of Queensland and the proud Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland, to take part in this ceremony.
The bond between owner and any animal is special; but the bond between a guide dog and their handler seems truly extraordinary.
Guide dogs are not only trusted companions, but the embodiment of hope, new opportunities and adventure.
As we know, each guide dog is carefully selected and matched to its handler based on their personalities, mobility needs and lifestyle.
The ideal partnership is long-term and life changing.
A good fit can help you grow in confidence and increase your level of independence, with much-needed physical and emotional support along the way.
To get to the point you are at today has taken hours upon hours of time, commitment, stamina and no doubt patience.
While it may not have come easily, it is undoubtedly well worth the effort.
And how fitting that we celebrate your achievements on the eve of White Cane Day – a day the world sets aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and their journey towards independence and equality. Today, you complete another step in that journey.
As Governor, Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland, I am immensely proud of you all.
To those with low vision and blindness, I wish you all the best as you embark on life’s journey with your guide dog companion. I know you’ll look after each other and marvel at what you can achieve.
To the puppy raisers, guide dog instructors, staff, volunteers, supporters and donors, you deserve our deepest gratitude, for without you, the achievements we are celebrating today would not have been possible.
Now, before we move on to the business of presenting today’s graduates with their certificates and medallions, I would first like to present a Certificate of Patronage to President of Guide Dogs Queensland, Mr Richard Anderson OAM.