A decision last week to cut ties with Wagga Wagga’s sister city in China was reversed tonight at an extraordinary meeting of Wagga Wagga City Council.
Councillors voted 6-1 in favour of a motion to rescind a resolution from the 14 April 2020 ordinary meeting for Wagga Wagga to repeal and sever, any and all sister city agreements associated with China.
Crs Greg Conkey, Dan Hayes, Rod Kendall, Vanessa Keenan, Tim Koschel and Yvonne Braid voted in favour of the rescission motion with Cr Paul Funnell against it.
Two councillors – deputy Mayor Dallas Tout and Kerry Pascoe – declared a conflict of interest and left the room for the debate and vote.
The rescission motion was lodged by Mayor Cr Conkey OAM and also signed by Crs Hayes and Kendall on 15 April.
Council tonight also endorsed a report put to the meeting by Cr Conkey, authorising the Mayor to write a letter of apology to the Mayor of Kunming and recommit to Wagga Wagga’s sister city and friends in China.
The resolution also included that Council apologises to the community for the harm and reputational damage the previous resolution has caused.
This report was endorsed with a vote of 6-1, with voting of councillors “for and against” reflecting the same as the earlier rescission motion.
In his report to Council, Cr Conkey outlined the city’s strong relationship with Kunming spanning more than 30 years.
“As a Council and as a community, let’s show the world that we haven’t changed – we are the same community with a proud history of leading regional initiatives,” Cr Conkey said.
“A letter to our friends in China is a start towards reclaiming the reputation and confidence in the compassion and inclusiveness of our city.”
Tonight’s meeting was held remotely and livestreamed via Council’s facebook page and website.