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Powell Speech – Dr Peter Oliver (29 November 2012)

Oliver, Dr P

Hon. AC POWELL (Glass House—LNP) (Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection)

 (2.57 pm): It is with a heavy heart that I rise to reflect on the passing of a good friend and inspirational constituent, Dr Peter Oliver.  Peter was 54 years old.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010.  He was never a smoker.  He was husband to Ann, father to Jayne, Katie and Mick and a resident of Maleny.

He was adjunct associate professor in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland—the same school through which I received my science degree 17 years ago.  Peter led the development of International Water Centre education and training products, in particular the Master of Integrated Water Management programs.  So not only was he a constituent; we crossed paths regularly in our respective environmental roles.  There is a great summary of his career on the IWC website.  He worked with good people in wonderful places.  He taught secondary maths and science to students in Surat, environmental and outdoor education to students at Maroon Outdoor Education Centre, he taught young folk at Maleny State High School, students at various universities and further afield overseas.  He coordinated major ARC projects on Engaged Government and led a number of Waterwatch, landcare and integrated water management workshops not only across this great state but also across the world. I turn now to Peter’s campaign against the disease that claimed his life.  As I said, Peter was never a smoker and was reasonably healthy before his diagnosis.  He was quoted as saying, ‘I won the lottery at the wrong end.’

I would also like to read this quote into Hansard— I’d also like to do something about lung cancer, this—

and unfortunately I cannot repeat this word as it is parliamentary—

… of a thing that has been trying to rule my life.  I need to raise awareness about it, raise funds, and advocate for more research funds for early detection and treatment.

That had been Peter’s ambition ever since he was diagnosed.  He did not want funding to be taken away from other cancer research programs; he just wanted a bigger piece of the pie of the tobacco taxes directed to long cancer.  I thank the Minister for Health, Minister Springborg, for meeting Peter before he passed away.

Our local community valued Peter in his mission.  That is why my annual charity cricket match, held in Maleny in October, raised around $3,000 for the Australian Lung Foundation.  It was great that Peter stoically watched the majority of the match.

Peter will be sorely missed in my local community and in the broader environmental sector, but most importantly he will be missed by his family and to them I extend my sincerest sympathies.  Vale Peter Oliver.

 We will continue your campaign.

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