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Speech by the Governor of Victoria at the Environmental Science Public Lecture


First, I 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.

As this evening we shall hear about contemporary innovations in environmental science, I am especially mindful of the first peoples’ care of the land and waterways across many millennia.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for this Public Lecture, just our second, following last year’s program on the major challenges in global health.

This year, we are here under the banner of science, and, in particular, the clever methodologies that we see in Victoria – helping us to adapt to the new normal that is a warmer climate.

In my time in this role, we have reflected on the many different people who have come to this House and graced this grand room, as well as the sheer variety of events that have taken place over the last 143 years since its completion.

From formal balls for up to two thousand people in the late nineteenth century, to a girls’ school during the Great Depression and the countless awards ceremonies and receptions celebrating all that is good about the Victorian community.

More recently, this room has seen many cultural performances, including by Circus Oz, complete with full trapeze under these chandeliers.

And just last month, a now annual Red Cross blood bank was held, continuing an historic relationship that includes this Ballroom being used to pack parcels for the troops in wartime.

This evening, we gather to learn more about science.

Scientists and scientific inquiry help to shape the environment in which we live, how we live and our understanding of ourselves and our planet.

We know that our scientists are amongst the most influential people when it comes to Victoria’s future.

We can be grateful that we are blessed with an extraordinary depth of scientific expertise. Our State is widely respected and known for its vibrant network of universities, research institutes, and industry.

As in every age, we see new challenges for our scientists. And, as in every age, they find new ways to meet them.

And so we have invited some of Victoria’s leading experts to explain to us the innovative and clever solutions currently being developed to adapt to the challenges of Victoria’s climate.

We are grateful to Mr David Zerman, President and Mr Mike Flattley, CEO of the Royal Society of Victoria for helping to bring this panel and discussion together, and to Associate Professor Anthony Boxshall for his work, along with our panel members for their interest, time and support.

Associate Professor Anthony Boxshall is Chair of the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council, the peak body providing independent advice on marine and coastal issues to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

A marine ecologist by trade, who has worked in Australia and the USA across Government, academia and private industry, Professor Boxshall is also the founder of ‘Science into Action’. Its mission is to improve the use, understanding and uptake of science, technology and technical expertise.

We hope that you will find this evening’s panel discussion insightful and thought provoking on the possibilities to be discovered through science, creativity and innovation.

I will leave you all in the Moderator’s capable hands.