The Sister Cities movement in Australia www.sistercitiesaustralia.com is organised through local councils and community committees and associations.
As a 355C committee of Council, Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee receives funding each year for their administration costs. Membership to Sister Cities is open to everyone. Annual membership is $10 adults, $5 for youth or $25 for a family. A membership form must be completed to qualify for insurance coverage.
Positions on the committee are elected from the floor at each AGM.
Meetings are held monthly at Nelson Bay Bowling Club, on the last Wednesday of the month commencing at 7pm in the Bay East Room.
The ideals of the committee are to:
- create and strengthen partnerships between Australia and international communities to increase global cooperation at the local level;
- promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation;
- further develop and enhance a community's rich diversity and culture;
- provide personal development opportunities for adults and youth; and
- create new opportunities for trade and investment.
Port Stephens Council has enjoyed a formal partnership with several sister cities since the early 1980s.
Our first Sister Cities relationship began with Bellingham in the US state of Washington. In 1983, French company Pechiney wanted to construct an aluminium plant in Tomago, Port Stephens similar to a smelter in Bellingham. The cities officially formed a partnership when Port Stephens Council sent representatives to Bellingham to view Pechiney’s technology.
In September 2018, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer and General Manager Wayne Wallis attended the Sister Cities Mayoral Summit in Bellingham to foster global dialogue, cultural awareness and our ongoing relationship with our Sister Cities. Visit the Bellingham website.
In 1999, Yugawara formally became a Sister City, after many years of exchanges and Friendship City relationships. Subsequent tours have been hosted to and from Yugawara from 2001 until now. Students from Yugawara attend school at St Phillips in Salamander Bay and Port Stephens students also have the chance to experience the Japanese school system. Visit the Yugawara website.
A Friendship City agreement was signed with Tateyama in 1999 and formalised with a Sister City agreement in November 2009. A delegation from Port Stephens attended the official signing in Tateyama in 2009, while the next year, a delegation from Tateyama came to Port Stephens for a reciprocal signing. Tours have been hosted to and from Tateyama since 2001, including the Wakashio Marathon Exchange. Visit the Tateyma website.