What a pleasure it was to announce the Queensland Greats in Queensland Week, writes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Queensland Greats program is an annual opportunity to honour extraordinary individuals and organisations who have made lasting and important contributions to Queensland.

Some are world-leaders in their fields; others have quietly devoted their lives to improving their corners of the world. All are extraordinary.

This year, for the 15th anniversary, a posthumous category was added and it was my honour to name The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, a Queensland Great.

His family, Terry, Bindi and Robert were on hand to receive the award. As Bindi told the guests: “He was a great Dad too!”

The other Queensland Greats 2015 are:
• Scientist Professor James Dale AO
• Entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Brice AM
• Artist and benefactor Robert MacPherson
• Equality advocate Pat Fennell
• Broadcasting pioneer Jack Gleeson AM and
• RSL (Queensland branch)

It was a wonderful, humbling evening and a reminder of how versatile we all are, and how no area of endeavour is beyond a Queenslander.

Protecting the Reef

It was fitting that we gathered for the Queensland Greats as we learned wonderful news about arguably our most famous Great: the Great Barrier Reef.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee released its draft recommendation – that it would NOT list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”.

This is good news for us, for our children, for their children. It is also an overwhelming endorsement of my government’s efforts and new approach to reef protection.

We have committed $100 million to improving the water quality, setting strict new targets to reduce pollution run-off into the reef.

We have vowed to protect the reef for generations to come and we intend to deliver.

Go West!

In April I visited drought-stricken communities in outback Queensland, including Barcaldine and Charleville. Locals are doing it tough but stressed to me that they didn’t want handouts, they wanted industries which could sustain local economies.

So, with Tourism Minister Kate Jones, I visited Winton at the end of May to announce a $500,000 tourism campaign for the first new outback branding in a decade.

Please consider going west for your school holidays. It’s a way everyone in the state can play a role in helping during the drought. More details and some suggested itineraries are at www.outbackqueensland.com.au

I can’t thank the Winton community enough for a wonderful visit and their warm hospitality and am sure you will have a similar experience.