NORTHERN Grampians Shire Mayor Wayne Rice will travel to China in a bid to establish investment opportunities with Victoria’s biggest trading partner.
Cr Rice will be part of the Premier’s Super Trade Mission from October 21 to 25.
The mission will focus on Victoria’s lifestyle and livability offerings and is designed to further strengthen the state’s investment relationship with China.
Consultant Clyde Humphries will accompany Cr Rice.
“Clyde has made many trips in the past and knows the customs and the culture and the way Chinese people do business,” Cr Rice said.
He said he and Mr Humphries would push Northern Grampians’ food, agribusiness, education and tourism potential.
“From a food perspective, I know that pork is a big market in China and we have some good piggeries at St Arnaud,” he said.
“The lamb market is a bit new so I can see a lot of development potential, particularly with Frews abattoir based in Stawell.”
Cr Rice said education for children with disabilities would also be discussed.
“We are looking at the possibility of having educators come out and spend time at Skene Street Development School in Stawell so they can take that knowledge back to their own system,” he said.
Tourism was of particular interest because of Chinese settlement in Stawell during the Gold Rush.
“Chinese visitors in the past have been surprised to find how many of their ancestors are buried in our cemetery,” Cr Rice said.
He said family history and heritage were extremely important to the Chinese and could encourage residents to travel to this part of Australia.
During the trade mission Northern Grampians will have investment stands at food, beverage and lifestyle trade shows in Tianjin and Shanghai.
Mission delegates will also participate in trade discussions in Beijing.
Cr Rice said he was looking forward to showcasing the municipality to China.
“The benefits will not be overnight – don’t expect me to come back with a multi-million-dollar contract in my hands because that won’t happen,” he said.
Northern Grampians Shire Council has received a $3000 grant towards the mission.
A report to Monday night’s council meeting in St Arnaud estimated the mission would cost the municipality between $10,000 and $15,000.
Cr Tony Driscoll said the Premier’s Super Trade Mission had enormous potential for Northern Grampians Shire.