ORANGE councillors have returned from a trip to Papua New Guinea hoping to start a number of programs between Orange and its sister city Mount Hagen.
Mayor John Davis, sister cities community committee chair and deputy mayor Chris Gryllis, and councillor Reg Kidd paid a six-day visit to Mount Hagen, attending the province’s major cultural festival, visiting its developing liquid gas facilities and coffee plantations and meeting with dignitaries, including Western Highlands Province Governor Paias Wingti and Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes.
Cr Gryllis said it was a successful trip, despite two people claiming to be mayor of Mount Hagen following its local government election.
“This week the court will decide who is the mayor and once that’s done we will be in a better position to have a better relationship,” he said.
“The High Commission was very generous with their time - there are a number of projects AusAID and some other funding bodies have here and it’s come to the stage where we can be involved.”
Cr Gryllis said he had started talks with Orange-based coffee supplier Factory Espresso in a bid to import Mount Hagen’s coffee.
“We’ve got some coffee from Papua New Guinea here already - this will not solve the financial situation, but it will be a good gesture,” he said.
Factory Espresso owner Bill Parianos said he was interested.
“We are definitely looking at the possibility of it but it’s very early days and, at the end of the day, the coffee has to stand on its own two feet,” he said.
“If it does, we’ll jump on it.”
Cr Kidd said he enjoyed Mount Hagen’s cultural offerings, especially the sing sings at the festival, the farmers’ markets and the gardens.
“For 30 years we’ve been helping set up the processes in Mount Hagen like roads and planning and waste management and there are a number of programs where they’re looking for support,” Cr Kidd said. “Currently, we haven’t got the money but we’ve got the expertise and experience.”
The councillors attended at their own expense.