Tuesday, August 30 2022

Rod, and I as patron, have great pleasure in welcoming you to Government House to present the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards to 18 outstanding young people.

It is wonderful that we can come together at last, as disruptions due to COVID has meant that some of you have had to wait a little time to be presented with your award.

Congratulations to you all. Through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, you have gained new skills, been taken out of your comfort zone, pushed limits and prepared yourself for whatever life challenges lie ahead.

One of the great benefits of the awards scheme is the breadth of experiences afforded to you; improving physical wellbeing, volunteering in the community and experiencing a team adventure in a new environment.

You have done some amazing things: from volunteering in an orphanage in Nepal to exploring the culture in Italy. From service trips to third world countries before COVID hit, to knitting blankets for the homeless in Adelaide.

You have tackled each through different activities and in different ways, but at the heart of your progress has been the development of leadership skills. You have gained knowledge and confidence.

Now that you have attained the highest award in the Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme, I hope you will continue to think of yourselves as leaders because that is exactly who you are.

The best leaders give back to their community, and through your voluntary service you have experienced not only how much you have gained from this, but you've also seen the impact you have made to others.

I hope you will continue to give back in this way.

You can be proud of the valuable contribution you have made to organisations such as Salvation Army, Scouts, Council Youth Reference Groups and supporting a variety of charities through local schools and community clubs.

As Governor, I am encouraging our leaders and future leaders in all fields to partner collaboratively with others, share information, seek out and listen to the inputs of those in diverse fields and people at all leadership levels.

Because diversity brings strength to our community.

Good leaders are found everywhere, and leadership is potentially in each and every one of us. It is within you.

Of course, achievement is never a solitary pursuit.

There are many people behind you to offer congratulations for the triumphs and offer encouragement for the tough times and to be proud of you.

Rod and I thank the award leaders, parents, friends, teachers, school principals, youth leaders and other supporters for being there for you.

In that regard, today we are also celebrating one Long Service Medal and two Silver Distinguished Medals which honour sustained and eminent service to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The passion and leadership of such people who give their time, expertise or financial support, enable the scheme to grow and remain relevant to the development of young people.

The scheme was dear to the heart of the Duke of Edinburgh and it is clear that Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, himself a Gold Award recipient, has superbly taken carriage of his father’s legacy.

Since it was founded in 1956, more than 775,000 young Australians have undertaken the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

You are now part of a distinguished eight-million strong alumni spread across 130 countries.

I trust you will harness the skills and friendships you have gained from the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards to navigate a bright future.