BALLARAT City councillors have voted unanimously to send a delegation of three councillors and the chief executive to Canberra to lobby the federal government and the opposition.
Mayor John Burt, Cr Samantha McIntosh, Cr Amy Johnson and chief executive Anthony Schinck will represent Ballarat in Canberra on March 18-20.
However, the total cost to ratepayers will only be known after the trip.
Cr Des Hudson said he was supporting the trip.
“Often, with these reports coming to the chamber, there is a sense of nervousness,” he said.
“It is seen as an easy option for our councillors to be leaving the city and taking off on a junket.”
However, he said the reality was that it was no junket.
“These are about trying to maximise opportunities for our city,” Cr Hudson said.
“Part of our funding comes from both federal and state government.”
Cr Hudson said the trip was critical leading up the 2013 federal election so that politicians of all persuasions could have an idea about Ballarat’s needs for the future.
“We have a sweep of projects, not only of our own but of our stakeholders, which can be put forward and discussed with relevant politicians,” he said.
“We should be doing such trips frequently.”
Cr Belinda Coates said she hoped in terms of fairness and balance that the delegation would find time to also seek to meet with the Australian Greens representatives.
Cr Burt said if the opportunity arose the delegation would certainly try to do so but he joked the agenda was so tight that it was quite “frightening”.
City of Ballarat spokeswoman Paula Lawrence told The Courier that the councillors had 13 meetings confirmed with the government and opposition. The total cost of the trip can be provided after the visit, she said.