ARARAT - To further foster and develop Ararat's Sister City relationship with Taishan and Friendship City relationships with Yiwu and Huzhou, Ararat Rural City Council has accepted an invitation to send a delegation to China for 10 days in October.
Yiwu Municipal People's Government invited the Mayor and a Council delegation to attend the Yiwu International Fair in October as well as to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the signing of Ararat's Friendship City memorandum.
As the delegation also covers the period of 155 years since Taishan miners discovered gold leading to the founding of the township of Ararat, plus the marking of 40 years' diplomatic relations between Australia and China, Council felt that something extra should be incorporated in to the visit.
The manager of economic and cultural development Clyde Humphries has organised for the Grampians Pyrenees Wine Co-operative to occupy a two site exhibition space donated by the Yiwu Government to promote Ararat Gold Shiraz and the Co-operative's regional wines; the attendance of Grampians Tourism Inc through chief executive officer Will Flamsteed at the exhibition space to assess opportunities for tourism packages as well as offering support to the Co-operative team; the attendance of Member for Ripon Joe Helper; the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a Sister School status between the Skene Street Special Developmental School and the Yiwu Xingguang Experimental School; Commissioning and unveiling of a commemorative plaque or tree planting recognising the ten year celebration at Yiwu; and the attendance of the Brambuk Koori Dance Troupe to perform in both Taishan and Yiwu.
Cr Ian Wilson, representing the Mayor, the CEO Andrew Evans and manager economic development and cultural development (incorporating international relations) Clyde Humphries will attend on behalf of Council.
Cr John Cunningham indicated that while Council was pleased to be sending a delegation to Taishan, the Ararat community should also be aware that a delegation from Taishan would be coming to Ararat for a week in early October.
The delegation will include 24 people, teachers and students, and will feature a performance by the Taishan No 1 High School.
"They will be staying a week and spending some money and time with us and continuing our good relationship and what this delegation (to Taishan) will do ... is reciprocate on behalf of Ararat with our sister city Taishan and also our friends at Yiwu," Cr Cunningham said.
"I am really pleased to see Cr Wilson attend on behalf of the mayor.
"The work that's been done by council officers, in relation to wine and other areas sees us really going ahead with China and this will maintain the impetus."