Sister city progress for region

Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter

Harvey will soon have a sister city relationship with China and Japan following a decision made at last week’s council meeting.

Earlier this year, Harvey Shire Council received approaches to form sister city relationships from Moka City in Japan and Xiuzhou District, Jiaxing, in China.

Despite a heated argument from one councillor against the proposal, the council voted for the relationships to proceed.

Cr Craig Carbone suggested the money be spent on supporting community groups within the town.

“I personally cannot see any benefit from this,” Cr Carbone said.

“Why the shire would want to be friends with someone with appalling human rights is beyond me.”

Shire president Tania Jackson said the international relationship would strengthen important ties for Harvey.

“Council felt that there was a lot of merit in forming relationships with our neighbours China and Japan,” Cr Jackson said.

“The possibilities of working together socially and economically will have huge benefits for us, and I’m hoping we can share some of our culture with them.”

In assessing the requests for an international relationship, each city was evaluated against strict assessment criteria that outlined economic, social, cultural and educational opportunities and benefits.

An allocation of $10,000 was provided in the 2019/20 budget towards cultural exchange activities that included a lunch, dinner and travel throughout the town.

However, Cr Carbone argued this money could be spent on something more beneficial to the community and the council should “stick to its core business”. “The State government has a Ministry of State Development, all the big companies go through that when they come to Australia, and I can’t see why we need to get involved,” Cr Carbone said.

“While $10,000 in the overall scheme of things might not seem like much, when it comes to a community group needing a small amount of money to keep going and we have to shut them down because of this, it’s just not fair.”

An international relationship with Italy will not be pursued at this time.

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