Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland’s Annual Cabinet Dinner
Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympics, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP; Ministers; Mr Speaker, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP; Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Shadow Minister for Olympics and Paralympics, Mr David Crisafulli MP; The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Adrian Schrinner; President of the RNA, the Honourable Justice David Thomas and members of the RNA Council; Chief Executive of the RNA, Mr Brendan Christou; Distinguished Guests; good evening.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
As Governor of Queensland and Patron of the RNA, it is an absolute honour to join you this evening to celebrate the 2022 Ekka – how special it is to see it return in all its glory following a two-year hiatus due to COVID.
Over the coming days we will see the heart of country Queensland on display. We will witness the incredible work of the agricultural sector, and the vital role it plays in the prosperity of our great State.
The Ekka is the opportunity for us to reward pastoral excellence. It also enables visitors to gain a deeper understanding of how the quality of our city life is so tightly linked to the fortunes of rural and regional Queensland.
Despite the extraordinary difficulties faced by those on the land, exacerbated by the unpredictable effects of Mother Nature, it is the courage, tenacity and pride of regional Queenslanders—alongside their remarkable ability to solve problems—that always leaves the strongest impression.
Most significantly, the Ekka generates an atmosphere of immense positivity, highlighting the exciting potential of our State, and the enterprising spirit required to foster it.
But obviously we export much more than agricultural products.
Graeme and I have recently returned from a busy, yet highly successful two-week visit to Germany and the United Kingdom, and it was extremely heartening to see how our State’s outstanding reputation for excellence is driving the formation of new partnerships with industry leaders overseas that, alongside the ever-vital contribution of agriculture, will ensure a shining future for our State.
I must thank Mr Dave Stewart, who, as Agent-General for Queensland to the UK and Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Europe, is doing incredible work, with his team, to promote Queensland’s investment potential, and support our diverse exporters.
The possibilities around renewable energy continue to attract considerable attention, and I am so proud to see how we are leading the nation in producing and exporting green hydrogen. It is an exciting area of development which will not only contribute to our State’s economic growth, but one that also puts us another step closer to a carbon-neutral future for all.
In Berlin, I was delighted to again meet Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, the Honourable Bettina Stark-Watzinger, whom I had met previously at a State Dinner I hosted at Government House in May – also attended by Minister Linard— to celebrate the historic bio-economy agreement signed between Germany and Queensland. It was deeply encouraging to hear of Germany’s enthusiasm for this new strategic partnership that will allow our State to benefit from Germany’s world-leading research and technological expertise in hydrogen, and open the way for further collaboration.
Additionally, in the United Kingdom I was introduced to a major renewable energy investor, who this month will be bringing a delegation to Queensland, in order to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Korea to be supplied with hydrogen out of Gladstone. I am looking forward to hosting another State Dinner for this delegation.
With such groundbreaking ventures in progress, it is therefore no wonder that when Graeme and I met with Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Earl of Wessex, both were extremely interested in Queensland’s green hydrogen initiatives, and were keen to learn more.
I look forward to having a chance to further highlight our unique opportunities to the Right Honourable, The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, when he visits Queensland in September to establish links between financial investment institutions. He will be a guest at Government House, and we will hold a State Dinner in his honour.
Of course, Queensland’s capabilities extend far beyond these sectors. Our strengths are as diverse as they are exceptional.
At the end of our trip, Graeme and I were proud to represent Queensland at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, joining the Official Party to see our top athletes excel. Congratulations to them all.
For me, it was truly thrilling to see Queensland from a global perspective, and to realise how much others admire our State’s renowned inventiveness and determination.
Returning to Queensland, we see these same sterling qualities reflected in the magnificent work of the RNA Executive, Council, staff and army of volunteers, who each year bring our State’s largest event to fruition. This is a hefty responsibility, requiring many months of planning and staggering levels of coordination.
It is therefore with the deepest gratitude that I thank all those involved for their drive, dedication, and commitment, and for striving to remind urban Queenslanders that the food on their tables is there largely because of the enormous efforts of our farming families and rural businesses.
These superb examples of local and international endeavours, combined with the passionate spirit of Queenslanders, make me highly optimistic for our State’s future.
I am sure that everyone here tonight shares this sentiment.