Broken Hill City Council has flagged its intention to rekindle its sister city link with Chinese city Taixing after correspondence from Chinese officials expressing interest in a continued relationship.
This is not the first time BHCC has looked to rejuvenate the sister city link with the Chinese region. The relationship began back in 1998 as an initiative headed by then Mayor Peter Black along with Councillor and then Chair of the Sister City Committee, Bob Algate, the latter still a city councillor today.
“We hosted some high-ranking Chinese officials,” Cllr Algate told the Truth, “and they did the same for us. Peter and I went to Taixing to see what they had to offer. We visited some kindergartens and middle school areas, that sort of thing.”
Once Mr Black was ousted as Mayor, the relationship fell by the wayside, around 2001 but again the relationship stuttered.
Now, over 20 years later, the current Council headed by Mayor Tom Kennedy is looking to rekindle the relationship, something Mr Algate supports.
“It would give our kids an opportunity to see what the other side of the world is all about.”
“There is always something to be gained. Whether it is cultural or educational exchanges between students of Broken Hill and Taixing.
“It would give our kids an opportunity to see what the other side of the world is all about.
“Even trade. I mean it is difficult, but not impossible. Anything is possible really, but at this point we are essentially starting from scratch,” Cllr Algate said.
Back in the initial stages of the connection between the two cities, kangaroo meat and emu oil were two of the big interests of the visiting Chinese entourage, and the current Council is keen to look at another tilt at those potential industries.
“Those things have developed into industries that are worth tens of millions of dollars,” says Mayor Tom Kennedy, “and we missed out. That’s a lesson learnt. You really have to seize on these opportunities when they arise. Long term, it will allow business opportunities.”
Taixing is a county level city on the Chinese mainland in the Yangtze River Delta and sits within Jiangsu province, bordering the city of Nantong to the east, Chanzhou to the southwest, and Zhenjiang to the west.
“In the initial stages, it’ll be more a cultural exchange or allow Chinese people from that area to come to Broken Hill and hopefully, we can expand and encourage tourism out here from that area,” said Cllr Kennedy.
“Long term we hope that once we get contacts, some kids will show an interest in visiting that area, whether it is through student exchange programs or something similar.”
He added that the partnership would hopefully give locals the chance to evolve their cultural horizons.