Mayor’s foreign jaunt abandoned amid budget woes

July 26, 2023 7:55 am in by
Trent Sullivan headshot suppliedA proposed overseas junket that would have seen Geelong’s mayor jet off to Europe in September has been scrapped, as the council struggles to contain its ballooning budget.

The trip, which would have seen Mayor Trent Sullivan and a staff member visit Belgium, Scotland, Turkey and South Korea, would have come at a cost to ratepayers of $25,000.

But councillors voted to can the plan at Tuesday night’s regular meeting after accepting that the timing was inappropriate.

Article continues after this ad

News of the proposal triggered an angry community backlash, with many locals using social media to vent their fury.

“Outrageous!” wrote Angela on Facebook. “Meanwhile they cut funding to the Give Where You Live foundation that helps to support vulnerable members of our community.”

“So they can’t afford to stay in G21 even though that alliance was responsible for securing the Geelong City Deal funding, nor pay to staff (at) the Armstrong Creek library, but sure – go on a junket,” posted Jarred.

Another person pointed out that Australia already has a trade minister, adding that councils should “stop thinking they’re mini-states”.

The trip, which was supported by City of Greater Geelong officers, would have included the UNESCO Creative Cities Network conference in Istanbul.

Article continues after this ad

Geelong has been a member of the Creative Cities Network since 2017.

The tour would also have included a stopover in Geelong’s sister city of Changwon in South Korea.

Critics, however, pointed to the council’s current budget crisis that has led to staff redundancies and cuts to libraries, major projects and community events.

Image: Geelong Mahyor Trent Sullivan (supplied)