Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

China junket to be probed

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30 Oct 08

Wangaratta Unlimited investigates


Chinese Junket

Back in August, the Wangaratta Council was planning on sending the Mayor, Roberto Paino, his wife and the CEO, Doug Sharp on a visit to foster council’s relationship with the Wuzhong Province of China.  The ratepayers were to pay their fares and the Chinese Government was to pay for their accommodation.

At the August council meeting, Cr Parisotto challenged the trip as a junket, the party never visited China due to earthquakes and Wangaratta Unlimited is now investigating any potential benefit in the association. (page 9).  To pre-emp their investigation, I did a Google search on Wuzhong.

Well, here is a photo of downtown Wuzhong … not quite Wangaratta is it?

Wuzhong District is situated in the south of Suzhou and administers 13 towns, 1 nation-level Taihu Lake Tourism & Vacation Zone, 1 provincial level economic development zone. It has 770 square Km of land area, 1400 square Km of Taihu Lake water area, and a population of 535,000. In 2003, its GDP was 18 billion yuan ($A4 billion), the local budget revenue registered 1.11 billion yuan.

Just the sort of numbers the economic arm of the RCoW would have wet dreams about!

An industrial belt south of Suzhou city has taken shape. High-tech and green environmental urban industries such as electronics & information, biopharmaceutical, new materials and precision machinery are the key development industries that attracted over 1000 foreign invested enterprises from more than 20 vountries and regions. The total investment was over 7 billion USD. Maybe they could get that sort of industrial investment south of Wangaratta (the King Valley) with a lot of foreign investment.

As the trip was to take place in October, I searched for events in the area and found:-

2008 Wuzhong Tai Lake Investment Promotion Conference
Time: 6:00 PM
Date: 16/10/2008
RSVP Date: 16/10/2008
Venue: Wuzhong Stadium
Address: 345 East Baodai Road, Suzhou苏州市吴中区宝带东路345号
Member Price: 0
Non-Member Price: Free Accommodaton 0
Wuzhong District Government of Suzhou is to hold an Investment Promotion Conference on October 18th, which would be an imposing pageant that demonstrates investment landscape, regional layout, and industry development of Wuzhong District to the guests from famous world-top companies, leading investment groups, and business consulting companies During the period of stay in Mudu all expenses as board and lodging will be borne by the Mudu government.

Umm, no conference costs and free accommodation.  Just like the council agenda recommendation suggested “The only cost to the Rural City of Wangaratta ratepayers would be the air fares” … I wonder?

This event was billed as an “Investment Promotion Conference” seeking outside investment – not trade.

Raising this issue in council last week is unfortunate timing with council elections. However me must thank Cr Parisotto for standing up to this junket.

Written by Greg Naylor

5 November 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Prospective councillors were quizzed on their attitude to the China junkets.
    Read what they say here

    Greg Naylor

    12 November 2008 at 10:53 pm

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