RNA Cabinet Dinner
Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympics and Paralympic Games, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP; Members of Executive Council; Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Shadow Minister for Olympics and Paralympics, Mr David Crisafulli MP; The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor Councillor Adrian Schrinner; RNA President, the Honourable Justice David Thomas; Vice-President, Mr Dan O’Connor OAM and Chief Executive, Mr Brendan Christou; distinguished guests.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here this evening.
As Governor of Queensland, and Patron of the RNA, I am pleased and proud to be with you this evening, and I thank the Honourable Justice David Thomas for his toast.
In just a few days’ time the Brisbane Showgrounds will again come alive with all the exciting tastes, experiences and traditions that are synonymous with our State’s iconic and cherished Ekka.
…And over these 10 days—while the rides, strawberry sundaes, fireworks and showbags will happily entice visitors—the main attraction will always be Queensland’s outstanding agricultural sector, showcased so magnificently through an incredible program of displays, competitions and events.
Our State has a global reputation for the top-quality and highly nutritional range of agricultural products that are enjoyed domestically, and exported internationally, to over 130 destinations worldwide.
This is a boon, not only to our State’s economic fortunes, but also to the health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders— many of whom, of course, may have never set foot on a farm paddock themselves!
The Ekka enables us to reward and applaud the excellence and innovation in agriculture that makes our food sources reliable and safe; and it also allows us to reflect on the deep connections that unite us—regardless of where we live.
Quite simply, it does “bring the city and country together”, with a unique opportunity for both discovery and celebration.
This is of particular resonance to me, because when I was sworn in as Governor, I pledged to serve, acknowledge and support all Queenslanders wherever they may live— by discovering more about their challenges and triumphs, and by celebrating the richness that such diversity brings.
To this end, I am committed to travelling as far afield as possible and am pleased that now— a little over a year-and-a-half into the Vice-Regal role—I have visited over half of all Local Government Areas in the State, including, most recently, various remote communities in Cape York Peninsula.
This latest trip was a logistical challenge, but I was determined to meet as many people as I could—in local councils, schools, health centres and hospitals, and also in art and cultural groups, and environmental protection agencies run by Indigenous Queenslanders.
Every regional trip I undertake, gives me the chance to learn more about the distinct character of our State’s unique regions, all of which are influenced so greatly by the industries and small businesses that underpin them.
I am so proud to see our producers shine—and equally, it is a tremendous honour to promote Queensland’s exceptional credentials overseas, as I was able to do in May this year, when I travelled to England to represent our State at the coronation ceremonies of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
At home, I will always be a keen advocate for Queensland producers and produce, with Government House now featuring Queensland-sourced ingredients and wine in 100 per cent of our official menus served to the many guests who come through our doors.
A week ago, Graeme and I hosted a special State Dinner to honour Queensland producers, which I am delighted the RNA President Justice Thomas could attend, along with representatives from our pastoral, agricultural and viticulture sectors. This was our way of expressing our deepest gratitude—on behalf of all Queenslanders—for the immense contribution being made by those who live outside our cities, to our State’s prosperity and enviable way of life.
As a doctor, I remain committed to furthering healthy, active lifestyles. The food we eat is such an integral part of this—a message being wonderfully strengthened by my colleagues at hospitals and health centres across the State. So far, during my term, I have been to 49 out of the 124 medical facilities I intend to visit and it is always such a delight to chat to our amazing healthcare workers and volunteers.
And just as our State’s hospitals demonstrate the skill and commitment of their staff, the Ekka enduringly represents the hard work, determination and courage of those who work on the land.
This evening, we honour the many individuals who provide that most essential of commodities—our food—the producers, growers, farmers—and all those involved in the sometimes difficult, and ever evolving journey from paddock to plate.
We also pay tribute to the outstanding contribution of the RNA—the Executive, staff the huge team of volunteers, and generous sponsors, who—as champions for our primary industries—bring the Ekka to us each year, and ensure it is bigger and better than the one before…which is a remarkable effort considering the event has been part of Queensland’s history for 147 years!
I am looking forward to officially opening the Show on Saturday, hosting receptions for the Showgirl State Finalists, and for the RNA at Government House, attending Friday’s High Tea, as well presenting awards at the Flower and Garden competition—a real highlight, particularly for Graeme, the green thumb in our family.
For now, I know you all join with me in wishing the RNA a hugely successful Ekka 2023. Thank you.