25th Anniversary Reception for the Fire Protection Association Australia, Admiralty House
Good evening, everyone.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Cammeraygal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
Linda and I are delighted to welcome you to Admiralty House for what is a significant year in the life of the Fire Protection Association Australia and also the start of an important month.
2022 is the 25th anniversary of the merger of two predecessors to create FPA Australia. September the 1st is also the start of the inaugural National Fire Protection Month.
Today we celebrate the Association’s achievements over the last quarter of a century and, in doing so, help raise awareness about fire protection and the important role played by the Association and the fire protection industry.
Ask any Australian what words they would use to describe our firefighters and you’ll hear ‘brave’, ‘courageous’ and ‘selfless’.
We, rightly, hold our firefighters in the highest of esteem. After all, they help save lives.
We should also value the fire-protection and fire-prevention systems in our buildings that also help save lives and property and minimise damage.
In the event of a fire in a building, it is the fire-protection and fire-prevention systems that will buy people time.
And ‘time’ as we know – the precious minutes and seconds – can make a world of difference to an outcome.
So, today, we shine a light on the critically important work that the more than 1720 members of the Association do to protect people, buildings and the environment.
I’m informed that, in addition to the 25th anniversary of FPA Australia, it is also the 356th anniversary of the Great London Fire of 1666.
The fire raged for four days, destroying much of the northern bank of the city and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
I mention the Great London Fire because from that event has come much of what we recognise as fire protection – the regulations, practices and innovations that today keep people and property safe from the risk of fire.
All of you — from the manufacturers, suppliers, designers, installers, and those who service fire protection products and services, to the bushfire consultants, firefighters, building owners, insurers, architects, and building surveyors — play key roles in keeping Australians safe.
We hope that those responsible for fire protection and prevention in our workplaces and residential buildings value the role played by the industry in protecting life, property and the environment.
National Fire Protection Month, which starts today, is one way to help spread that message.
The National Fire Protection Month website has all the details. There will be many free seminars and webinars throughout September, examining different aspects of the industry.
One of the things I, with Linda, have tried to emphasise during my term as Governor-General is the importance of taking time out to celebrate achievement.
Today’s anniversary is one of those occasions.
The last couple of years have been an incredibly challenging time for our nation.
Drought, fire, flood, cyclones, mouse plague and the pandemic.
Notwithstanding those challenges, this group continued with its important work.
During the pandemic the Association successfully lobbied for its members to continue servicing fire systems, when others were locked down.
And it actively sought to become an accreditation authority to lift the quality and accountability of practitioners and to deliver more reliable fire safety.
That’s a sign of a strong, resilient organisation.
Again, it is great to have you here today.
This is a small group. As members of the Fire Protection Association Australia you represent the tip of the iceberg of an industry that continues to pull out all stops to protect life, property and the environment.
So, when you return to your workplaces, please pass on Linda’s and my gratitude for all that you do to keep Australians safe.
Keep up the great work.