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Reception to pay tribute to Victorian Nurses

Speech given by the Governor at a jazz concert held at Government House for Victorian nurses.


First, I want to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this evening.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you here to Government House, for an evening in honour of a very special group – our Victorian nurses.

We are, of course, always grateful to our nurses for their expert healthcare. But this year, in what has been such a difficult time, we are particularly grateful.

You, and the many thousands you represent, have been on the frontline of COVID-19, and the significant health challenges that it has brought. This has put into sharper focus than ever not only the skills you bring to your work, but also the genuine care that you show to your patients.

I am conscious that the exceptional circumstances in which many of you have been working has seen you taking on additional and difficult roles including, in some cases, comforting folks in the last stage of life, without their loved ones close at hand.

Some of which you are trained for. Some of which goes well above and beyond any training, coming instead from your innate empathy and kindness.

You have also worked with the additional risks that come from being on the frontline of such a pandemic. Despite that, you have shown great dedication and courage.

And when you were not caring for your patients at work, no doubt many of you were caring for others at home, and even home schooling your children. A considerable achievement all round.

Finally, I suspect that you have worried about the effects of your work on your families. And equally, they have worried for you.

It is for all these reasons that we wanted to show our gratitude to you by hosting you at Government House this evening.

We want you to have the opportunity to relax, and to take in some wonderful music while you do so. The performance this evening is brought to you by Orlando Drive.

They will bring to us a blend of Jazz, Blues, Soul and Rock & Roll. There is bound to be something for everyone in that exciting mixture.

As Victoria’s renowned creative industries have also had a difficult time this year, we are pleased for this opportunity to feature some of our outstanding talent.

On that topic, later, when you are heading off, please do see the mural we commissioned to thank all our frontline workers who have worked so tirelessly throughout both the bushfires and the health crisis this year.

The mural is the work of Street Artist Heesco, and we are proud that it will be donated to the regional town of Yarram, where they are already the proud owners of murals by Heesco, and are excited to add this one to their collection. 

That leaves me only to thank you once again for your work.