Miles Community Morning Tea
Western Downs Regional Council, Mayor Councillor Paul McVeigh and CEO, Mrs Jodie Taylor; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Barunggam people, and extend my respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
This is my second visit to the Western Downs since I was sworn in as Governor, just over a year ago. On that occasion, I had a very tight schedule and was unable to include Miles, but I am delighted to be here today in this wonderful, award-winning centre with its extraordinary seven-metre tall, bottle trees. What a striking and memorable welcome!
Mayor McVeigh has organised a very efficient program for us so, before I leave this afternoon, I will have visited the local high school and hospital, had a working lunch with Council, and will have hosted a special private Investiture Ceremony to present Mr Eric Geldard OAM with the Medal of the Order of Australia which he was awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year.
To present Australian Honours and Awards to exceptional Queenslanders like Mr Geldard, is a great privilege.
Equally, is the opportunity to visit schools and hospitals around the State. As Governor, I regard these visits as particularly important because, at my swearing in on 1 November last year, I made a pledge that I would do all I could to promote education, particularly literacy, and to foster the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders.
As a consequence, I have set myself the target of visiting every public hospital in the State – and I’m pleased to say that I’m making steady progress towards that goal.
Apart from official and ceremonial aspects of my role, one of the most important aspects of any regional visit is the opportunity it gives me to meet Queenslanders at community gatherings like this where we can share a cup of tea and a quiet chat about the things that matter most to you, your families, and your region.
I am very aware that, like every Queensland city and town, Miles has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenging economic times. But I also know that this community is as hardy, adaptable and resilient as the dogwood scrub that Ludwig Leichhardt first saw growing here, almost 180 years ago.
Thank you again for welcoming me so warmly and for this opportunity to spend time with you this morning. I look forward to moving around the room and speaking with you all.