Friday, 28th September, 2018

Mayor John Kremastos, former Mayor Bill Shannon, Councillors, Members of the Mission Beach Aquatic and Recreational Association, other very distinguished and important guests, ladies and gentlemen.


Today we celebrate all of those who worked so hard to see this wonderful project come to fruition. Can I say what a wonderful area Mission Beach has always been, the beaches and the islands are just fantastic, a real gem of Australia. But this facility will add to what’s already so great about the Cassowary Coast.  I can well understand why the original people here, the indigenous people the local tribe were so proud of this and I pay my respects to them and their elders, and, indeed, elders everywhere, people who shaped and made our country and our community. And I recognise them all.


Ladies and gentleman, I don’t like to argue with you Mayor John, but you did say that this is a facility that catches this area up with every other community in Australia.  Can I tell you that very few other communities have this sort of facility.  It is a great credit to all involved.


In fact, I wondered if I could just read something that the Aquatic and Recreation Club put out in their publication “A Pool to be Cool” which is again a wonderful record. I don’t know if any of the rest of you have seen this, but it is a wonderful history of the comings and goings, and I can tell you all, I live in a small country town myself, I was on the Council for 11 years and so can emphasise with what is set out in this wonderful little particular publication. But I just want to read from this, which I think is very, very appropriate,


“no single protagonist led the community for the duration or masterminded almost every step and outcome.  This wonderful activity was achieved by the many people who chipped in and played their unique roles along the way. This fabulous community we live in made it all possible. Success was ours when all parties aligned – community, Council, State, and Federal Government.


I think that encapsulates it all.


Now ladies and gentlemen I was here at the shovel turning and my staff found a photo of that which is a lot different to what you see today. And they also found for me the speech I gave at the time which is just one page but unfortunately, this speech is going to be slightly longer than that because there are a lot of people that I want to mention, people  who have played a part in this. 


Of course I’m here on behalf of the Federal Government acknowledging that the Queensland government also contributed almost $3.5 million. But for the Federal Government it is about ongoing programs to try and support smaller communities, regional communities, communities in the north, and communities in regional Australia. And we do make money available.  We are very keen on the development of the North. Of course, as I said before, this is a gem of northern Queensland, northern Australia. We are delighted to be able to make contribution of about $3.5 million to this.


Mayor John, just there can I pause for a moment to say this came out of the Building Better Regions Fund and can I tell you that an additional $200 million was budgeted in the last Budget for that Building Better Regions Fund and so we are continuing that commitment.


Round 3 of the Building Better Regions Fund opened yesterday so Mayor, your CEO, Councillors, get out your wish list, sharpen your pencils, and make an application. You might also like to know that of that fund, $45 million has been specifically marked for tourism related infrastructure so I hope that is of some interest to people here.


Ladies and gentleman, I did want to congratulate the Council, the builder, of course, AJ Homes,  the  Council staff for the work they have done over a long period of time. I do want to recognise Bill Shannon and the previous Council who I know were there through some of the early challenges of getting this going and they also deserve credit.


I do want to mention, and you’ll excuse me for doing this, some friends and colleagues of mine, Andrew Cripps who was the local State Member here for many years. Andrew played a big part in getting the State Government to make a contribution here, but also can I mention the late Noeline Ikin. Some of you would have known Noeline but Noeline was that sort of personality that she breezed through here, met with the people who were advocating for this.  She was a wonderful woman and had influence far beyond her stature, far beyond her size, and she was the one who originally told me that I had to get going and make sure the Government funded this. So I did want to particularly mention Noeline.  And can I also mention Margaret Darveniza who, I understand, had a lot to do with this and can I recognise that there is with us today from Hervey Bay, Amy and Leroy Crook whose son was tragically killed out on the beach with a stinger bite and it was as a result of the momentum that started then, that this wonderful safe facility is realised. Not only youngsters of this area, but also people my age and in between who will find this facility just a wonderful addition to the great things that happen at Mission Beach.


Ladies and gentlemen I did want to recognise too the Mission Beach Aquatic and Recreational Club. I have met them earlier when they applied for funding, at the launch and of course it’s tremendous today to see here four life members of that club Ken Gray, Paul Roxby, Maureen Scott, and Coralie Kent the last who have come from a long way to see their dreams come to fruition. It’s easy just to say that the Mission Beach Aquatic and Recreational Club raise $38,000 to contribute, but again I know raising money at the community level is never easy and it was that initial input from the group of very, very dedicated people that got everyone on board and I think that needs to be recognised here today. So congratulations to them.


And ladies and gentleman you know what’s here you can see what’s here. It is a wonderful facility and it is something that will add, as I say, to the wonderful natural attractions to this area. I am delighted I have had the honour of being able to be involved at various stages. But again, can I conclude by recognising the enormous effort that’s driving this from the current Council, the former Council, the Mission Beach Aquatic and Recreational Club, and all of those who really put their hearts and minds into this. You all deserve wonderful praise and perhaps I can conclude by asking you to applaud yourselves for the work that you have done by making this facility a reality.

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