Johannesburg, South Africa

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Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s proposed trip to Johannesburg to attend the C40 Summit next February has been labelled by rival councillors as a junket.

Ms Moore is travelling to South Africa for the C40 Large Cities Climate Change Summit, a three-day biennial meeting of mayors from the world’s largest cities to discuss effective responses to climate change.

The Lord Mayor has attended the C40 Summit on three previous occasions, which has resulted in projects implemented by Council using technical and practical information gained from the summit.

Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla said the benefits of these past projects should have been cited rather than the confusing rhetoric that was used in explaining the trip to Council.

“You ought to have the confidence to say we got great results out of the last conference,” said Mr Mandla.

“I’m getting emails from the community saying ‘all these pages and pages of mumbo jumbo, it’s got to be a junket’.”

Ms Moore will be accompanied by three staff members on her trip, which includes ten days of travel around southern Africa visiting urban projects closely aligned with Sustainable Sydney 2030.

Greens Councillor Irene Doutney supports Ms Moore’s attendance at the summit and said Sydney should play a role in climate change innovations.

“It is totally appropriate for the Lord Mayor to attend the C40 conference and to examine other environmental and sustainability projects while she is there,” she said.

“While nation states dither and make little progress on climate change, cities are leading the way and it is important that Sydney is part of this global city movement.”

Liberal Councillor Christine Forster said that while the summit is important, the cost of the trip and the extra days of travel were unwarranted.

“It’s an important conference, but to come to Council asking for us to approve up to $20,000 for four staff members to then go on a trip for ten days around southern Africa, it looks like a junket,” said Ms Forster.

Living Sydney Councillor Angela Vithoulkas said the trip was unjustified because technology such as teleconferencing could be used.

“There is no need to take these extensive overseas trips by taking advantage of available technology,” she said. “Teleconferences are very useful, as is Skyping.”

Andrew Woodhouse, President of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Conservation Society, said money for the trip should be used for CCTV cameras.

“The money would be better off used to go towards more CCTVs in Kings Cross where the late Thomas Kelly was killed,” he said.

Ms Moore declined the opportunity to justify the trip.