Batemans Bay is a step closer to developing a commercial and cultural affiliation with the world’s second largest economy.
The Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry is considering a proposal to seek a sister city relationship with a prosperous and populous Chinese city or province.
There are almost 200 similar arrangements in all Australian states.
Kim Odgers, who presented the Sister City proposal to the chamber last week, described the early stages of affiliation as ‘a little like a marriage; firstly there is the tentative courtship and then the arrangement settles down hopefully to a long term commitment’.
He said sister cities, or twin towns, were no longer just the friendship and cultural exchange vehicles of earlier decades.
“There is now a heavy focus on business and tourism opportunities,” he said.
“The Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Business reports China’s current approach to these affiliations as being ‘a commitment to enhance economic and commercial interests in the two regions on a mutually beneficial basis’.
“The benefits that should flow to our region would be dominated by tourism and commercial opportunities, but that a strong cooperative emphasis would also be generated in the areas of education, sport, art, study exchanges, disability tourism, health, aquaculture and technology’.
The Chamber will form a working group, involving interested community organisations, to prepare a submission for Eurobodalla Shire Council.
Negotiations will then commence with the relevant Australian regulators to further advance the initiative.
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