“This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future”. Margaret Atwood Author, Eating Fire

It seems quite ironic that Phase 4 restrictions are lifted in the week of Winter Solstice, the lead into the end of the financial year and the plan for the year ahead.

Fremantle Markets, and a number of our large attractions, have set dates to open their doors. Experience Fremantle from the Inside Tours are being funded by the City of Fremantle, for the Department of Communities and Transport newly arrived workforces, and plans are underway for the re-emergence of our networking events and launch of the Fremantle Business Awards 2020.

Plans for Fremantle for the July school holidays are also shaping up and we hope to share more of these activations ideas being actioned by the City in coming days.

On pathways, the debate from the City continues on the proposal to close the Cappuccino strip. As noted on my interview with 6PR last week, the Chamber’s position, developed following feedback from our Small Business & Retail Committee, and our hospitality members, is that closing the strip is not economically sound, and is not in the best interest of Fremantle business. Malls don’t work in any City and all strong urban design is moving back to a mixed-use high street style.

Without movement and traffic those businesses down the strip will suffer more than they already are. Unfortunately, we are not a European piazza and we just don’t have the residential population, or culture, that can sustain the movement required to keep that style of urban design alive. The only time the strip should be closed is during Street Arts Festival or events where we know there will be enough movement on the street to justify it.

Visit our new Chamber website at www.fremantlechamber.com.au for more information on these activities, events and update your Chamber member directory page while you are there.

In other news this week, the Chamber has joined forces with the South West Group as part of a united commitment to enhance career advisory services, education, training and employment opportunities for young people and job seekers in the Greater Fremantle region. A number of organisations have come together to seek funding for a Federal Government grant to deliver a unique career pathway program that engages industry to find a win-win process.

The overall grant would see around $300,000 per annum put into our regions training and career development pathway.  The three industry sector pathways chosen are construction/property, supply chain logistics (including warehouse/marine and engineering) and health and community care.  We would so value the support of any of our members in these sectors to put their hands up to simply support the grant application, or even offer 1-2 places for candidates in your workplace should we be successful with the funding.  If your organisation would be willing to help please email me directly before COB tomorrow.

We often talk about the different pathways our businesses take to grow, how our roles as leaders emerge, and the diversity of business here in Fremantle.

I think this is summed up by the niche advice that local firm RSM play in tailoring services and advice to suit individuals, and their businesses. By way of example Tom Huberli, Senior Manager at RSM in Fremantle is the national expert in providing taxation and retirement advice to Swiss Expats. He sites the example of father of the Red Cross, humanitarian author, cowinnerof the first ever Nobel Peace Prize and thevery symbol of caring for our fellow man, HenryDunant, who lived a poverty-stricken life in his later years. With the benefit of hindsight, it appears even thefinest and most revolutionary humanitarian actswere not enough to protect some challengingcareer and business endeavours that resulted in thecollapse of afinancial institution!For more information on this niche work visit yje article Tom published this week here.

The new financial year will bring opportunities and challenges for all of us as we recover for the untold change of the last few months. Let us keep building our local networks, strength and support for our diverse pathways and industry sector in the weeks ahead.