Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Rod and I warmly welcome everyone to Government House today.

Since returning to Adelaide just over a year ago, I have been reminded of South Australia’s deep sense of community and our culture of volunteering.

In fact, since my formative years here I have the sense that spirit has only strengthened over time.

Rod, as a new South Australian, has been deeply impressed by the drive and commitment of community organisations.  So have I.

You define our State’s character.

Rod and I are privileged to be patrons or joint patrons of more than 150 organisations and we are delighted to see you all together here at Government House.

We know many of you and are looking forward to meeting others for the first time.

This is one of the largest functions held in the grounds, although I hope that our new Lunch on the Lawns events over Summer and autumn will come to rival it and enable more people to experience these wonderful gardens.

Certainly, Rod and I extend an invitation to your members and your and their friends to join us on the first Friday of the month in this wonderful setting.

Friends.

As Rod and I have travelled the State, we have been touched by the obvious pride staff and volunteers have in their organisations and how they are energetically contributing to their communities.

Many of these visits have been to mark significant milestones and we have been honoured to be included in your celebrations and to hear your stories.

We have found a strong correlation between organisations and communities which know and celebrate their history and community resilience and well-being.

As Rod and I enter our second year as your patrons, we are gaining a deeper sense of the challenges before you.

Generational renewal, how to encourage people to take on leadership roles, fundraising, governance imperatives, ensuring diversity not only within your organisation but in service delivery.  These are significant issues with which you are grappling.

However, we have been impressed by the number of organisations taking practical steps to increase the efficiency of service delivery or revitalise club membership.

There are those who have been nimble in navigating the challenges of COVID restrictions to ensure your clients can access services or your members can stay connected.

There are those who have found like-minded partners to share services such as administration or premises.

There are those who are collaborating with others to gain new ideas or be efficient with resources.

There are those who are sharing their valuable learnings with others.

And there are those who are reaching out to a wider group of people, including those with diverse experience or abilities.

I am thinking of The Imparrila Philanthropic Hub bringing people together who share a common goal, values and vision.

I am thinking of The Lyceum Club that meets in the Naval, Military and Air Force Club, rather than its own premises.

I am thinking of the Robe RSL clubrooms which shares rooms with the kindergarten next door, enhancing community connections.

I am thinking of the South Australia Police Band, performing today as three ensembles, and our wonderful St John Ambulance volunteers, always at the ready should we need them.

As your patrons, Rod and I stand ready to support you in any way we can - to be a sounding board, to provide encouragement, to recognise achievement.

But most importantly we stand here to say a heartfelt thank you.