Sister city links under pressure as councillors rein in expenditure
By Sally Gordon
Clarence Valley councillors are keeping the local government purse strings tightly drawn on overseas trips.
Councillors met for the first ordinary business meeting of 2006 on Tuesday, voting to scrap a mayoral visit to Vanuatu, citing budget constraints and ratepayer obligations.
In an attempt to revive a former Grafton City Council sister city relationship with the Municipality of Port Vila, it was pro- posed that Mayor Ian Tiley visit the South Pacific Island in July this year.
It was suggested that Cr Tiley attend Vanuatu's Independence Day celebrations and liaise with dignitaries including the Australian High Commission to Vanuatu.
But, the idea was knocked on the head after Yamba-based councillor Doug Mackenzie suggested that councillors and appropriate staff examine the issue of sister-cities in a workshop.
He also recommended that 'council examine a code of con- duct specifically for sister-city relationships, should it be determined that sister-city relationships were warranted.
"I'm not against sister-city relationships ... however I draw the line at councillors travelling overseas at ratepayers expense," Cr Mackenzie said.
"I believe we need to set clear parameters of what is expected from a sister-city relationship."
Cr Chris Gulaptis agreed and said council currently faced budget constraints and did not have a mandate to approve the recommendation.