HAMILTON will secure closer links with China this week when Southern Grampians Shire Council’s mayor and chief executive lead a deputation to Gaoyou City.
Cr Albert Calvano and Richard Perry leave on Thursday to oversee the official authorisation of a proposal for Hamilton and Alexandra College to deliver secondary school education at Gaoyou Middle School.
Their delegation also plans to sign an agreement to strengthen sister city co-operation and exchange between Hamilton and its Chinese partner.
The proposed agreement encourages provision of Victorian Certificate of Education high school curriculum in the Gaoyou school.
Cr Calvano said the visit would firm up the council’s formal relationship with Gaoyou City and pave the way for future trade delegations.
“It will build upon the good work that has been done over the past years to build a solid friendship between our two regions,” he said.
The relationship began when former mayor Howard Templeton signed an agreement with the director of Gaoyou Municipal People’s Congress in June 1998.
It signalled the start of a friendship and information exchange between the two regions which has resulted in the Hamilton and Alexandra College establishing a twin campus with Gaoyou Middle School.
In the years since, year 9 students have made annual 10-day visits to China and Gaoyou Middle School students have visited Hamilton annually.
“Those annual visits has helped our students understand the Chinese way of life and shown the Chinese students a bit about life in Australia,” Cr Calvano said.
Southern Grampians Shire will also host an industry forum tomorrow to help local businesses explore trade opportunities in China. The Australia China Business Council forum will be at the Martin J. Hynes Auditorium from 2pm.