Queensland Symphony Orchestra Cairns Festival Concert
Chair, Flying Arts Alliance Board, the Honourable Anthe Philippides SC; representing Minister Enoch, Local Member for Cairns, Mr Michael Healy MP; Mayor, Cairns Regional Council, Councillor Bob Manning OAM; Queensland Symphony Orchestra Chair, Mr Rod Pilbeam, Board Directors, and Chief Executive, Ms Yarmila Alfonzetti; Health and Wellbeing Queensland CEO, Dr Robyn Littlewood; Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chair, Ms Elsa Dalessio; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Cairns, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here today.
I thank Gudju Gudju Fourmile for his Welcome to Country.
Graeme and I are delighted to be with you for this fantastic, sold-out concert to mark the end of the 61st Cairns Festival.
I know things did not augur well when the much-anticipated Grand Parade was cancelled because of rain, but a patch of wet weather was not going to stop the people of Cairns enjoying this exciting event, and it has been wonderful to hear how successful the last 10 days have been.
Tonight’s concert is an important milestone in the 75-year history of our State orchestra.
Last year, they not only recruited a new Chief Conductor and a new Chief Executive, but also embraced a Reconciliation Action Plan.
Now, in collaboration with William Barton, they are developing Waarma Piipa, a unique project that will enable the orchestra to establish meaningful connections and lasting relationships with Indigenous communities in regional Queensland.
I congratulate and commend William, and the orchestra’s Board, management, and musicians, on embracing this visionary project as an integral part of a five-year Regional Touring Program.
The program will enable the orchestra to continue to visit this region as it first did almost 76 years ago, bringing world-class music and musicians and inspiring future generations of musicians, conductors, and composers.
As joint patrons of the orchestra and committed advocates for the Cairns Festival, Graeme and I are immensely grateful to the Cairns Regional Council, the State and federal governments, and the many corporate partners, foundations, sponsors, and donors who support this Festival and make our orchestra’s regional program possible.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank them for that.
Arts and culture are as vital to our wellbeing as food and shelter, and without that support and generosity of spirit, we would be a great deal poorer as individuals and communities.
Enjoy the concert!