Mayor defends overseas trips

Overseas trips by councillors were slammed as an extravagance at today’s Brisbane City Council meeting.

Opposition leader Milton Dick asked the Lord Mayor to guarantee that ratepayers would not be subject to increasing overseas travel costs for LNP councillors.

He said overseas trips were an extravagance the Brisbane City Council could not afford, given the council’s “difficult financial circumstances”.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said ratepayer-funded overseas trips were of “strategic importance” to Brisbane.

He defended what he called the small number of overseas trips to Brisbane’s sister cities as proper and fitting.

“I will guarantee that I will not be gallivanting around the world to places that are not of strategic interest to this city,” Cr Quirk said.

He said the trips were business missions, with the goal of generating further business for Brisbane and growing economic opportunities within established relationships with sister cities.

“I’m not going to be going off to all sorts of wondrous places that have nothing to do with our strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region or nothing to do with sister city relationships,” he said.

Cr Quirk also accused the Opposition of having a “head in the sand approach” when it came to sister city relationships, which were originally set up by Labor.

According to the council’s web site, sister city relationships have been set up with

Kobe (since July 1985)
Auckland (since August 1988)
Shenzhen (since June 1992)
Semarang (since January 1993)
Kaohsiung (since September 1997)
Daejeon (since June 2002)
Chongqing (since October 2005)
Abu Dhabi (since February 2009)
Hyderabad (since October 2010)

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