GLENELG Shire councillors have voted to pay for a trip to China out of their own pocket.
Councillors this week voted unanimously to send a delegation to the Chinese city of Zhangjiagang towards the end of this year to forge trade and education relations.
The two cities signed a friendship agreement in 1995.
At least four councillors, including Anita Rank, Geoff White, Robert Halliday and mayor John Northcott, will take part in the trip.
Cr Northcott said Glenelg Shire would have to decide what it could offer the city in terms of trade, while moving to establish greater student exchange links.
“Fisheries is something I would like to greater explore,” Cr Northcott said.
“But we need to have something to offer them.
“Student exchange is another thing that myself and former mayor Bruce Cross have been pushing for,” Cr Northcott said.
There have been two student exchange group visits since 2012.
Cr Northcott defended the decision to have councillors cover their expenses.
“This isn’t in the budget — we’ve got to pay our own way,” he said.
“We don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of ratepayer funds.”
The Portland Manufacturing Network will also be invited to send delegates on the trip.