REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Council is on the front foot in a bid to attract investment from China into the region.
Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice, has been invited to join Premier Denis Napthine in a Super Trade Mission to China later this month.
The delegation, which will include just three Victorian mayors, will visit Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai. Trade discussions will be the key focus of the visit to Beijing.
Cr Rice said the Super Trade Mission was all about talking up what the Northern Grampians has to offer, in the hope of attracting investment in the future.
"I certainly wouldn't be expecting to return with a $50 million contract in my hands, but what the visit will do, is open up discussions and opportunities for future investment," Cr Rice said.
"The Chinese people have money to invest, but they have trouble investing it. They have to get permission from the government before they can do anything. It's not like you're dealing with private enterprise."
Cr Rice said he was looking forward to the opportunity of representing the Northern Grampians Shire in China.
"It will be great to get a foot in the door," he said.
"Some things may not come to fruition, but if we don't make a start, we will be left behind.
"China is very much a cash country. Because they have trouble investing their money, people keep their cash in the bank and that's not good for the economy.
"I will be working hard to get the message across to them that the Northern Grampians Shire is a great place in which to invest.
"We have the infrastructure, labour opportunities, cheap property values. All this, along with close proximity and excellent educational opportunities, would make Northern Grampians Shire a very attractive option."
Cr Rice said he would be promoting the Grampians and tourism as a whole during the Super Trade Mission.
He said the aim was to ensure Stawell and other towns within the shire, were well placed into the future.
"It's not about the now, it's about providing security 30 years from now," Cr Rice said.
"One area we do need to look at is to improve our industrial estate on the Western Highway. It is my belief that one day, there will be a bypass through Stawell and we need to be a leader. We need to have our industrial estate thriving and we can then dictate where we want the bypass to be, not just sit on our hands and wait.
"This is all about long term planning and if in 30 years from now it becomes easier for future generations and they say thank God the council back then thought of this, then we will have done our job."
Cr Rice said he was looking forward to developing relationships while in China and working with the Premier and other members of the delegation in trying to sell Australia, Victoria and the Northern Grampians as a great investment opportunity.
"I will be telling the people of China that we are open for business and open for investment."