Melton ratepayers will foot the bill to send three council representatives to Colombia for a conference in October.
Mayor Bob Turner, councillor Michelle Mendis and council community planning manager Matt Wilson will attend the UNESCO International Conference on Learning Cities in Medellin from October 1 to 3.
The trip will cost an estimated $4450 per person – $13,350 of ratepayers money.
It is the third time in the past four years Melton council will send a delegation to the conference, following trips to Mexico City in 2015, and Cork, Ireland in 2017.
Cr Mendis successfully moved a motion at last week’s council meeting to add herself to the delegation.
The original motion had Cr Turner and Mr Wilson attending, with the option of a third representative making the trip open to the council.
“The reason I’ve registered my interest in going is because there is a link to education and I work in the education sector,” Cr Mendis said.
“I really believe that I can bring things back to the community. Looking at the content and some of the issues that we do face with education in the City of Melton … I can get some benefit from this.”
The council held last year’s Lifelong Learning Festival following the Cork conference and Melton remains one of three Australian UNESCO Learning City members.
Cr Lara Carli spoke against councillors attending the conference, saying the money spent did not benefit residents.
“I’m not happy with overseas travel,” Cr Carli said.
“I’ve got no problem with any council officers attending, as they’re the ones dealing with these projects day in and day out and sharing their knowledge with others.
“The Mexico trip, which I opposed, I’ve seen absolutely no benefit to the community since that trip took place.
“This is ratepayers’ money and we just need to be mindful of that.”