The Chronicle

Council defends overseas ‘junkets’

- Chris Calcino chris.calcino@thechronic­

CRITICISM for attending “overseas junkets” has been widely denounced by council after the economic impact of Toowoomba’s sister-city relationsh­ips came to light.

Ratepayers forked out $22,500 for five council representa­tives and an interprete­r to visit Japan last November.

Research has since shown Toowoomba would host 410 Japanese exchange students this year, injecting more than $1.4 million into the economy.

The majority of those students come from the region which includes Toowoomba’s sister city, Takatsuki.

“We do get criticised about these trips... these ‘junkets’,” Cr Sue Englart conceded. “These are not junkets. “We can hardly be accused of living high on the hog ... we were well looked after, but we worked from dawn to dusk.”

Council has decided to continue its relationsh­ip with Takatsuki due to the “considerab­le economic benefit to our city through exchanges in the education sector, and also the tourism industry”.

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