Mayor seeks investment on China trade mission
NORTH Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers has packed her bags for a ratepayer-funded trade mission to China.
"The trip is about creating an understanding of the needs of industry in China and how we can possibly attract some of this investment into our region," she said.
Over the eight-day trip, which began on Saturday, Cr Chambers will meet property developers, investors and other Chinese mayors in places like Taipei, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Cr Chambers said the North Burnett already exported products to China and the opening of Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba to international flights would only increase opportunity for the region.
"I'm now in a much better position to encourage more of these exports, thereby increasing capacity of industry and also in a position of inviting further investment into the region," Cr Chambers said.
She said she was elected to make a difference and this trip was a part of doing that.
"When I was elected people put trust in me that I would be different," she said.
"Trust that I may be able to turn around our economy as we so desperately need to happen.
"We have a zero per cent population growth rate.
"We need to find jobs, which means we need to find industry, so we need to pull out all the stops to make it happen.
"This is what I'm doing ... it's my job as mayor to make sure the region progresses.
"No one is going to come and knock at our door and offer to invest in our region if they don't understand the opportunities our region may offer."
She said the trip was not about selling off land to Chinese investors.
"I'm not at all focused on the selling of farms and land as that doesn't provide the industry and jobs that we require," she said.
"The purpose of this trip is purely infrastructure investment opportunities which will create jobs."
The trip is part of a new relationship between the council and Logan City Council, located just south of Brisbane.
"Logan and North Burnett have embarked on a mutually beneficial relationship, the aim of which includes breaking down barriers between city and regional areas and creating opportunities to retain our youth," Cr Chambers said.
"This is the first time two Queensland councils have worked together in this way.
"I was asked by the Mayor of Logan to accompany them on this trade mission, the benefits being their already established relationships and track record with securing investment into their city with this country.
Cr Chambers said council unanimously voted in favour of the trip.
"The trip has been made as cost effective as possible with economy airfares, shared expenses with Logan and there being just one of me instead of a regional delegation," she said.