Monday, 9 May 2022

As your Patron, I warmly welcome you to Government House to celebrate World Red Cross Day and the presentation of National and State Red Cross Awards.

And I am pleased to be able to reciprocate the hospitality you showed me at the opening in December of the Australian Red Cross Head Office in Percy Court.

On an important occasion such as World Red Cross Day, it is appropriate that we come together at Government House: the House has had a long association with Red Cross, and not only through patronage.

Just after the outbreak of World War I, the wife of the Governor, Lady Marie Carola Galway, and the wife of the Lord Mayor, Mrs Janet Simpson, inaugurated the South Australian Division of the Red Cross.

The headquarters of the South Australian Division and its depot were established at Government House, and the stables - still standing -were used for the packing of soldiers’ comforts.

Since that time Red Cross has mobilised during time of disaster and conflict, assisted with health or social problems, and been there when needed.

Undoubtedly, Australia has had a tough two years, navigating the global COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crises created by drought, bushfires and floods.

I’m told Red Cross has not experienced such demand for its services since Wartime. Thank you, for being there.

Statistics paint a story of the importance of the work of Red Cross:

  • Almost 70,000 phone calls and more than 100,000 text messages have been made to South Australians isolating as a result of COVID-19
  • 400,000 rapid antigen tests have been distributed through six pick up points across South Australia
  • Four teams and 43 Red Cross people from South Australia were deployed to the New South Wales and Queensland flood disaster areas where almost 40,000 people were assisted
  • The Transport Service provided more than 37,000 trips for more than 3,000 vulnerable people with close to a million kilometres travelled across the breadth of the State.
  • 36 asylum seekers have been supported into employment in greater Adelaide and 36 in the Limestone Coast, most never having worked in Australia before.

Yet behind those statistics, is the story of humanity nurtured through the passion and commitment of dedicated volunteers and staff working alongside allied agencies.

As I said when I was sworn in as Governor, South Australians have a sense of community to be proud of, exemplified by a deeply rooted culture of volunteering.

While many people who give of themselves don’t expect or need thanks, it is important we do so.

To the award winners here today, thank you for what you do.

Your contributions are varied but are connected by that sense of purpose to build stronger communities.

I am sure the founder of the world-wide Red Cross, Henry Dunant, who was born on May 8th, would be proud his vision has endured and become a respected and trusted movement for kindness.

Through your individual contributions we can collectively  #BeHumanKIND!