GUNNEDAH shire's mayor will head to China with the blessing of fellow councillors, after they voted to approve his attendance at next month's study tour.
Jamie Chaffey will be one of the Namoi Unlimited representatives to undertake the tour to eastern China, which will start in Shanghai and move to Ningbo and Guangzhou.
Gunnedah Shire Council general manager Eric Groth had recommended in a report to this afternoon's meeting that councillors approve Cr Chaffey's participation, which they did unanimously and with little discussion.
Before the vote, Cr Chaffey reassured colleagues that ratepayers would not be paying for his trip, after a question to that effect from councillor Colleen Fuller.
Namoi Unlimited won a $20,000 grant from the Australia-China Council to undertake the tour, meaning his place will not be paid for out of the council coffers.
The joint councils organisation Namoi Unlimited had previously resolved to send Cr Chaffey, its chairman; as well as its deputy chairman, Tamworth regional mayor Col Murray; its executive officer Rebel Thomson; and Tamworth Regional Council economic analyst Alex Wang.
The Gunnedah vote today comes after a similar one in Tamworth last week, in which the region's councillors decided in favour of Cr Murray and Mr Wang going on the trip, which will also not cost ratepayers.
That vote was also unanimous.
The purpose of the tour is to help facilitate investment and trade, and boost agricultural productivity and innovation in the Namoi region.
The travellers will depart on May 19 and return on May 25, spending five days meeting with groups and individuals in business, agribusiness, trade and investment, foreign affairs, imports and banking.
Tamworth regional councillor Russell Webb spoke firmly in support of the mission and its aims of building trade relationships.
"It's securing a future for the region and it's building our capacity as a region as one of the major suppliers of protein," he said.