China trip forges stronger relationships for trade and education
04 Sep 2014
A productive meeting with senior executives from Baosteel has capped off a highly successful delegation from the City of Karratha to China.
The meeting covered issues including the cost of doing business in the Pilbara, native title and environmental approvals for Baosteel’s investment.
City of Karratha Deputy Mayor John Lally said the meeting highlighted the importance of international engagement to continue to build the local economy.
“The purchase of Aquila Resources by Baosteel and Aurizon is the most exciting new investment in the City of Karratha, with plans for a new mine, rail line and the Anketel Port all wrapped up in this deal,” Cr Lally said.
“We need to do everything in our power to make sure these plans become a reality. This meeting has definitely shown to the top level executives from Baosteel that we are serious about helping to resolve any issues they have so they can get on with their project and create jobs in our City,” he said.
Mayor Peter Long also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mayor of our prospective Sister City, Rizhao, which identified education and training, cultural exchange and expanding trade opportunities as key focus areas for the Sister City relationship.
“Sister Cities can bring great educational and cultural benefits for our young people. I want every high school student in our City to have the same opportunity as those in Perth and we’ve made great strides towards getting an exchange program off the ground,” Cr Long said.
“As well as meeting with Baosteel we met with executives from Rizhao Port, the largest iron ore import terminal in China as well as Rizhao Steel, a large customer of iron ore shipped from our City,” he said.
“These links show the value of having a strong relationship with China and in particular our prospective Sister City, Rizhao.”
Education officials from Karratha Senior High School, St Luke’s College and the Pilbara Institute met counterparts from Rizhao and Qingdao to discuss the possibility of student and teacher exchange programs while the delegation also visited a number of Ports and steel mills.
Pilbara Institute Managing Director Marlene Boundy said the delegation to China provided an opportunity to meet and share ideas on how the cities could work more collaboratively.
“From an education and training perspective this meant talking about how we could explore student and teacher exchanges especially the area of professional development and English skills. We toured vocational and technical schools and colleges and The Delegation have realised the synergies for us in planning and methodology including assessment,” Ms Boundy said.
“It's early days of course, but there are opportunities to explore the idea of teacher exchanges in English perhaps in the first instance. Our hosts were very keen to work with us to explore how their staff could visit Karratha to learn about our culture and the environment as well as enhancing their spoken and written English.
“Our cities exist because of the Ports importing and exporting business and it is exciting to be involved in how education and training can value add to our economies," she added.
During the visit, the Chinese Central Government approved the Sister City relationship between Lanshan District, Rizhao and Karratha paving the way for a formal agreement to be signed later this year.
The Mayor of Lanshan District will bring a delegation to Karratha later this year, when a formal ceremony will be held to officially become Sister Cities.