Gunnedah making the most of partnership with China

Lessons in Mandarin at St Mary's College Gunnedah.

Lessons in Mandarin at St Mary's College Gunnedah.

It is easy to see why some folk are a little uneasy about Gunnedah’s push into China.

The communist country has its share of problems and many of the ideals of its leaders vary very differently to ours here in country NSW. But the benefits of our strengthening relationship, particularly in trade and export, must surely outweigh potential risk or anxieties some people have.

Last week Gunnedah council agreed to a “friendly exchange relationship”, similar to a sister city partnership with at least one Chinese district. 

Mayor Jamie Chaffey, who is in China this week as part of a trade mission delegation, has also been cleared to endorse more relationships in the coming days while in country.

These agreements are necessary to ensure the long term future of regional towns like Gunnedah. We must grow, expand, develop and learn new ideas, methods and approaches to keep this town afloat. It’s vital to our future prosperity. Do nothing and our vibrant, local community will surely fizzle into economic ruin, as many in town have seen before.

Agriculture and trade are the main drivers at the moment for Gunnedah’s expanding horizons into China, but there is potential for such more. Just look at the kids at St Mary’s College who are learning new a language in Mandarin on the back of Gunnedah’s recent push into China. School principals can already see the direction we’re headed are setting these kids up with the skills to match for the future. It’s community collaboration at its finest.

This is a two-way street and of course China is seeking its share from this developing relationship. That’s why these reciprocating arrangements are being made, to benefit both sides of the fence.

So as we see change in our community in the coming years, whether that’s in new markets or new ways of doing business, we must embrace it to make it work. Dip our toes in a new venture, be it in China or otherwise, and see what happens. 

Sure change can be daunting at first but that feeling will pass. Change provides new opportunity, fresh perspective and greater understanding in life. A life rich in variety is one fulfilled.

China is the next step for a rapidly growing little town like Gunnedah and in our ever interconnected world, even destinations on other continents somehow don’t seem that distant any more.