Blacktown City Council has pulled out all the stops to support its sister city of the Liverpool Plains in the drought.
The city council has given Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) $20,000 to buy a slide-on water tanker and is throwing its weight behind a weekend of community events this month.
Liverpool Plains shire mayor Andrew Hope said Blacktown heard the community was struggling in the drought and “passed unanimously” a motion to give funds for the water tanker so it could be used to deliver drinking water within the shire.
They want to keep a dialogue of how they can help and all we have to do is ring and ask.Andrew Hope
“We were quite overwhelmed and humbled by it. Without even asking, they came to our aid,” Cr Hope said.
Cr Hope said LPSC’s sister city relationship with Blacktown City Council was formed about 14 years ago when the shire was suffering with drought and since then, the relationship has “grown and developed” into a cultural exchange.
“We’ve had a fantastic relationship and … it’s quite amazing what it has evolved into; just the willingness of a big city council like that to assist a small country council is quite amazing,” Cr Hope said.
“Myself and Virginia Black went down to Blacktown to thank them and they informed us they’d like to help in other ways. They’re talking about coming up at Christmas and put on an event and giving out Christmas presents to all the kids.
“They want to keep a dialogue of how they can help and all we have to do is ring and ask.”
Blacktown City Council’s sister city coordinator Greg McCallum said the councils’ relationship had “gone from strength to strength particularly in the last three years”.
“It’s one of our strongest relationships of our five sister city relationships,” he said.
“The drought’s given impetus to it. It’s created a real grassroots connection between the two cities and… being able to help your sister city is the key thing. We’re very fortunate to be able to do it.”
The two councils are now preparing for three days of community events in Quirindi on October 26-28, all of which will be funded by Blacktown.
The city council is bringing 170 people to Quirindi for an International Youth Connect Forum, Hangi in the Country, children’s concert with Play School’s Alex Papps, and the Sister City Games.
A basketball team will be flown in from Wellington to participate in the Sister City games and a Korean ambassador will fly in to participate in the youth forum, along with key note speaker Jessica Watson who became a household name when she sailed solo around the world in 2010.
These major events will be held on October 27, with the Sister City Games to be held at Longfield Park and Quirindi High School auditorium from 9am and youth forum at the Catholic Church hall from 10am. At Quirindi Royal Theatre, there will be free children’s concert with Alex Papps at 2pm, followed later by Hangi in the Country and Q&A with Jessica Watson from 6.30pm.