Monday, 4 October 2010

Council to vote on sister act

From The Herald...


Newcastle will forge links with its Japanese sister city Ube in November with a $38,000 three-day civic reception.

The Australian city is hosting the visit as part of 30th anniversary celebrations.

It comes after Novocastrians travelled to Ube in April.

A Newcastle City Council report said the sister city relationship was established in 1980.

Its purpose was to increase international understanding and foster world peace through communication and personal exchanges.

Councillors are being asked to authorise $38,000 spending on the Ube delegates' visit to Newcastle from November 21 to 23.

The itinerary includes civic functions, tourist activities and visiting the Kooragang Island coal-loader.

Meetings at the University of Newcastle, Hunter Business Chamber and Hunter Medical Research Institute are scheduled.

Cr Michael Osborne said $38,000 was a lot of money at a time when budgets were tight.

The council should consider partnering with other organisations to reduce cost.

"Certainly council should put some money in but the ratepayers shouldn't be carrying the full cost of these celebrations," he said.

Cr Bob Cook, who was a delegate to Ube in April, said the idea was feasible, but the council had to ensure the amount was covered.

"The cost isn't unreasonable in the scheme of things," he said. "There's a big benefit.

"These people spend quite a lot of money while they're here."

Cr Cook said cultural, education and business links between the cities would also be forged.

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