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Moorabool Shire CEO Derek Madden and Mayor Paul Tatchell will each self-fund a trip to China, as Lal Lal Estate looks to create a tourism-based educational farm. Photo - Lal Lal Estate

By Kate Taylor

In a move rarely seen, Moorabool Shire Council’s CEO will put his hand in his own pocket to fund an overseas business trip.

Derek Madden will travel to China for eight days this month (September).

“An opportunity has arisen for the CEO to travel overseas for economic development and potential investment opportunities,” read the report tabled at the September 4 council meeting.

It comes after council Officers have been developing relationships with the owners of the Lal Lal Estate involving a new development – a tourism-based farm with educational components including a wool museum as well as further development and expansion of a working merino farm.

The overseas owner of the estate extended an invitation to the CEO to attend various events and meetings to strengthen Council’s ties with the owners of the estate.

Councillors voted at the meeting to appoint General Manager of Infrastructure Phil Jeffrey as interim CEO in Mr Madden’s absence.

“Is it normal?” Cr Dave Edwards asked of the trip being self-funded.

Mr Madden replied that he sees it as “an opportunity to speak to potential investors.”

Councillors at the meeting commended the self-funding of the trip.

“Commendable,” Cr Edwards said.

“Hear, hear,” said Cr Sullivan.

Mayor Cr Paul Tatchell will join Mr Madden on the trip, also self-funded, with Cr John Keogh filling his absence as Deputy Mayor.