IT is the job of Urban and Regional Councillors to examine ideas that could improve the lives of their constituents. This includes some travel to places where those ideas have already been put into operation, either to see how they work or to come up withalternatives that could benefit Hong Kong. No one would seriously argue that such trips are not beneficial. But a sharp distinction needs to be drawn between a study tour and a junket. To cite but one example: did 11 councillors really need to go to Japan to study environmental hygiene facilities at a cost of $436,000? Could the job not have been done by a smaller group at a saving to the taxpayer? The Regional Council has now set up a committee to oversee foreign trips to guard against abuse or wasting taxpayers' money. Although there is still room for improvement in the way councillors prepare for visits and the reports they bring back for colleagues, the Urban Council should follow their lead. It is time councillors realised they are accountable to the public and stopped treating overseas trips as junkets at taxpayers' expense.