North West Queensland welcomes Ambassadors and Great Australian Bites event this Australia Day

Published Monday, 23 January, 2023 at 02:51 PM

Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

North West Queensland residents will get a flavour of Australia this week, with the region combining generous helpings of its best food, music and activities as part of a family-friendly Australia Day events program.

An annual highlight of the program is the popular food and music event, Great Australian Bites – this year held in Flinders.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Australia Day was a time for Queenslanders to come together to reflect, respect and celebrate on Australia’s national day.

“Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Australian, to celebrate our great lifestyle and to acknowledge our history,” the Premier said.

“Communities large and small are the foundation of our multicultural country, and I encourage all Queenslanders, far and wide, to come together to celebrate on our national day.

“With the Great Australian Bites event also taking place, it’s the perfect time to soak up the best of summer with good food, music and fun for all the family.

“We are all so lucky to live in Queensland, and my Government is proud to continue its work to promote our State’s wonderful diversity.”

This year, the Australia Day Ambassador Program is connecting Queensland communities with 48 proud, high-achieving Queenslanders who’ll participate in council-run events and activities across the state.

Founder of Breaking Down the Barriers for Rural Patients in City Hospitals Justine Christerson, 2012 Queensland Great Emeritus Professor Ken Donald AO, and 2014 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year Dr Robert McGregor will be among the Australia Day Ambassadors attending events in North West Queensland this month.

Justine Christerson said the Australia Day Ambassador Program allowed her the opportunity to travel to regional, rural and remote parts of Queensland to celebrate what it means to be Australian.

“I get to be celebrate with communities who come together as mates, while celebrating those who are achieving great things at school, at work and in their community,” Ms Christerson said. “They are inspiring while making their region great.”

Hughenden Recreational Lake will be an idyllic backdrop for Hughenden’s Great Australian Bites celebration on 26 January – this is the first time Palaszczuk Government has partnered with Flinders Shire Council to present the event.

Family and friends will be able to enjoy an afternoon lakeside with swimming, boating, fishing, and a range of outdoor games. In addition, ‘pick up a picnic’ BBQ packs and use of the barbeque facilities at the lake will be on offer to cook up a storm while listening to live music.

The Australia Day Ambassador Program and Australia Day program of events are proudly supported by the Palaszczuk Government in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council.

North West Queensland councils participating in the Australia Day program of events include Cloncurry Shire Council, Flinders Shire Council and Mckinlay Shire Council.

For more information about Australia Day celebrations in Queensland and the Australia Day Ambassador Program, including ambassador biographies, please visit:



Justine Christerson

Justine Christerson moved with her family from Biloela to Brisbane in 2012, and started up a program, Breaking Down the Barriers for Rural Patients in City Hospitals, assisting thousands of patients, carers and families who are required to travel to Brisbane to access healthcare services not available locally.

Justine spends her days providing free services to many, including airport pick-ups and drop offs, cooking and delivering home cooked meals, toiletries and advice on the healthcare system, patient travel subsidy scheme, accommodation options or just general information about getting around Brisbane.

Justine was also a finalist in the 2016 Queensland Local Hero Australian of the Year Awards.

Emeritus Professor Ken Donald AO

Ken has had a long career in medicine and medical education. As an academic he has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and textbooks. He has held numerous senior positions including Head of the School of Medicine at The University of Queensland, Director of Pathology Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Deputy Director-General of Queensland Health, General Manager John Hunter Hospital, and Director of Medical Services Royal Darwin Hospital. Ken’s loyalty and commitment to the health of Queenslanders is unrivalled.

He was honoured as a Queensland Great in 2012 and awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for contributions to medicine, education and veterans’ health.

Dr Robert (Bob) McGregor

After obtaining paediatric qualifications at the age of 27, Bob commenced practice in Ipswich, and was its first paediatrician. In the first year, he raised funds to provide Ipswich Hospital's small Special Care Babies nursery with vital modern equipment, followed by a long program to make the kids' ward more attractive.

For over 30 years, Bob served on the Boards of Ipswich Hospital and St Andrews Hospital and for 31 years as a Foundation member of the Ipswich Hospital Foundation Board. He founded the annual Ipswich100 charity ride in 2000, which has since raised over $1.6 million supporting local charities.

Bob served as Chair of the Ipswich and West Moreton Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Team for 31 years and has held executive positions with a local Australian Medical Association, serving 3 terms as President.

Bob has received the highest awards of both Lions and Rotary International, respectively the Mervin Jones and Paul Harris Awards for community service, and was named the Queensland Senior Australian of the Year 2014. He was a Queen's Baton Holder for the recent Commonwealth games and have just been awarded an honorary Doctorate in Science by the University of Southern Queensland.