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'People's Governor' - Young vows she'll help open up the state she's fought to protect


As Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young has managed the pandemic response, including when to go into lockdown. As Governor, she will reassure people it is safe for Queensland to open back up.

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After much speculation, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced Young would be the 27th Governor of Queensland, replacing former chief justice Paul de Jersey.

Young will take on the constitutional and ceremonial role on November 1, after de Jersey agreed to extend his term to allow his successor to do more work on the vaccination rollout.

Palaszczuk said Young had been “a rock” for Queensland during the pandemic and people wanted to see her in the new role.

“People across Queensland have stopped me and said to me ‘Dr Young’s going to be our Governor’ and that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” Palaszczuk said.

Palaszczuk said Young would be the “People’s Governor” and be able to travel the state to talk to Queenslanders.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said having Young in the role would allow her to promote the measures in place as the state’s economy and travel return to normal.

After 16 years as health chief, including her most challenging and proudest period dealing with COVID-19, Young said she hoped the pandemic would be “on the way out” by the time she became Governor.

“This is an enormous honour and one I’m so pleased to accept,” Young said.

“I look forward to going out across the state and meeting so many people.”

Young said she Queenslanders had every reason to “feel proud that they live in this fantastic state” and she hoped they would continue to rally together.

Asked if she was a Monarchist, Young said “I think that that is irrelevant in this situation”.

“I am here to provide a role that’s really important and I think that our process of government in Queensland, and in Australia, is to be envied around the world,” she said.

Jeannette Young, seen here receiving a public service medal from Governor Paul de Jersey in 2015, will take on his role from November. (Supplied)

Young thanked de Jersey for his service, and agreeing to a short extension to his term, and suggested she had “big shoes to fill”. His predecessors were diplomat Penelope Wensley, academic Quentin Bryce, and army officer Peter Arnison.

Palaszczuk today paid tribute to de Jersey and said she would miss his “warmth and wisdom”.

“His Excellency has a forged a path of inclusiveness, travelling widely across Queensland and welcoming many more into Government House both in the traditional sense and via his enthusiastic use of social media,” Palaszczuk said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Young had formed a special bond with the people of Queensland that only added to her suitability for the role.

Young’s husband Graeme Nimmo, who is retiring as a health expert next month, joined her for the announcement, and will be with her at the Government House known as Fernberg.

“I’ve always been very happy to support Jeannette in her role and I’ll be delighted to continue to do so,” Nimmo said.

The government will advertise for a new Chief Health Officer – Young already has a capable deputy in Sonya Bennett, whose role was created during the pandemic – and recently moved to extend the health emergency declaration until April next year.

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