The trip, which has the backing of council officers, will see the mayor and one council officer jet off to Belgium, Scotland, Turkey and South Korea later this year, at a cost to ratepayers of $25,000.
Overseas trips by councillors are always controversial but the timing of this one could not be worse, as the council lays off staff and slashes spending following the discovery of a reported $130 million budget ‘black hole’.
Staff have been ordered to find more than $7 million in savings with reported cuts to libraries, major projects, community events and even lifesaving services triggering an angry public backlash.
But the dire state of the city’s finances was not enough to convince officers that the September junket should be scrapped, with the issue to be put to councillors for a vote at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The mayor’s proposed itinerary includes “meetings and tours” designed to increase trade and investment in the region, according to the council.
(Image): Geelong Mayor Cr Trent Sullivan (supplied)