MAYOR ON CHINA TRADE TRIP

TRADE MIS­SION: Rachel Cham­bers’ ratepayer-funded trip to boost econ­omy:

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Tobi Lof­tus tobi.lof­tus@cnbtimes.com.au

NORTH Burnett Mayor Rachel Cham­bers has packed her bags for a ratepayer-funded trade mis­sion to China.

“The trip is about cre­at­ing an un­der­stand­ing of the needs of in­dus­try in China and how we can pos­si­bly at­tract some of this in­vest­ment into our re­gion,” she said.

Over the eight-day trip, which be­gan on Satur­day, Cr Cham­bers will meet prop­erty de­vel­op­ers, in­vestors and other Chi­nese may­ors in places like Taipei, Shanghai, Shen­zhen and Hong Kong.

Cr Cham­bers said the North Burnett al­ready ex­ported prod­ucts to China and the open­ing of Well­camp Air­port in Toowoomba to in­ter­na­tional flights would only in­crease op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion.

“I’m now in a much bet­ter po­si­tion to en­cour­age more of these ex­ports, thereby in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity of in­dus­try and also in a po­si­tion of invit­ing fur­ther in­vest­ment into the re­gion,” Cr Cham­bers said.

She said she was elected to make a dif­fer­ence and this trip was a part of do­ing that.

“When I was elected peo­ple put trust in me that I would be dif­fer­ent,” she said.

“Trust that I may be able to turn around our econ­omy as we so des­per­ately need to hap­pen.

“We have a zero per cent pop­u­la­tion growth rate.

“We need to find jobs, which means we need to find in­dus­try, so we need to pull out all the stops to make it hap­pen.

“This is what I’m do­ing ... it’s my job as mayor to make sure the re­gion pro­gresses.

“No one is go­ing to come and knock at our door and of­fer to in­vest in our re­gion if they don’t un­der­stand the op­por­tu­ni­ties our re­gion may of­fer.”

She said the trip was not about sell­ing off land to Chi­nese in­vestors.

“I’m not at all fo­cused on the sell­ing of farms and land as that doesn’t pro­vide the in­dus­try and jobs that we re­quire,” she said.

“The pur­pose of this trip is purely in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties which will cre­ate jobs.”

The trip is part of a new re­la­tion­ship be­tween the coun­cil and Lo­gan City Coun­cil, lo­cated just south of Bris­bane.

“Lo­gan and North Burnett have em­barked on a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship, the aim of which in­cludes break­ing down bar­ri­ers be­tween city and re­gional ar­eas and cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­tain our youth,” Cr Cham­bers said.

“This is the first time two Queens­land coun­cils have worked to­gether in this way.

“I was asked by the Mayor of Lo­gan to ac­com­pany them on this trade mis­sion, the ben­e­fits be­ing their al­ready es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships and track record with se­cur­ing in­vest­ment into their city with this coun­try.

Cr Cham­bers said coun­cil unan­i­mously voted in favour of the trip.

“The trip has been made as cost ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble with econ­omy air­fares, shared ex­penses with Lo­gan and there be­ing just one of me in­stead of a re­gional del­e­ga­tion,” she said.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PROGRESS: North Burnett Mayor Rachel Cham­bers and Lo­gan City Mayor Luke Smith meet del­e­gates in Tai­wan.

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