“Being born in a port city it a blessing… It is the reality and the mentality, you know, ports, ideas come in and out all the time”- Ruben Blades

It has been a week of BIG ideas this week, starting the Chamber of Culture & the Arts REMIX Summit last Thursday…

… our gathering of Marine & Engineering leaders in an inaugural think tank and finishing today with an annual review of our Chamber progress under the Greater Fremantle Action Plan.

One of the most interesting take outs for me from the REMIX summit was the parallel between the assets of the Knowledge Quarter Kings Cross in London in terms of connections and competitive advantage to our own Port City of Fremantle.

Within a one mile radius around Kings Cross Train Station – approximately a 10-12 minute walk – the Knowledge Quarter recognizes and works to connect the links between their remarkable cluster of organisations – panning a museum, a university, higher education training facility, technology companies, arts, culture and media organisations, parks and gathering spaces. The Knowledge Quarter boasts 86 organisations in total whose profile almost mirrors the backbone of our local Fremantle economy – albeit their one mile radius is home to 60,000 people rather than our 10,000.

Knowledge Quarter CEO Jodie Eastwood said that the geographical constraints of Kings Cross and its overlay with heritage, transport infrastructure and physical connectivity defines the work they do to bring together the intangible assets of their member organisations.

Our Fremantle Chamber Greater Fremantle Action plan sets priorities around the interconnectivity our marine and engineering, retail, property, arts and culture, tourism and infrastructure industries to achieving growth.

We are bringing these perspectives together in our series of think tanks with leaders across each of these sectors. This engagement and research work over the last six months will culminate in a Fremantle Perspectives panel at our Leaders Lunch on Friday 18th October.  Save the Date in your diary now for ticket release early next week!

Our Fremantle Perspectives panel will include Geoffery London (Professor of Architecture and ex Victorian and Western Australian Government Architect), Brodie Carr Managing Director Tourism WA, Matthew McNeilly Managing Director, Sirona Capital and Julian Smith Pro Vice Chancellor, Strategy and Planning Notre Dame University. With this extraordinary panel line up, it is one Chamber event you will not want to miss.

As part of this lead up work, we invited a group of our local Marine and Engineering business leaders (including Chamber member organisations L3 HarrisTAMSAcutec and Engineering Consultants Australia) to gather to look at the opportunities and challenges for this historic sector of our economy.

In addition to hearing more about the Westport shortlisted options (more on this further on in the Chamber Weekly), it was a good time to remind ourselves that Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour is in fact a working harbor also. Together with North Port, we are host to a variety of marine, boating and engineering service industries that work on not only Port activities, but provide support for our state-wide fishing, oil & gas and defence industries. It was clear from the think tank discussion that many of these businesses choose Fremantle as their home, over other areas, for ease of access to water and vessel lifting space, amenities for their workforce and great opportunities to build networks and entertain clients.

We will be involved in the Department of Transport (Maritime) Fishing Boat Harbour Local Planning Policy Review in coming weeks and the feedback from these members will be so important moving forward.

Finally, I look forward to making further connections across all our local leaders at the fantastic Freo.Social, who are hosting us on Thursday 19th September.


Independent Chair of the Westport Taskforce, Nicole Lockwood set the scene at our Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Marine and Engineering Think Tank with a focus on Westport’s shortlist of options to manage the growing freight task into the future.

The big question of what this means for Fremantle still remains largely unanswered and it is managing this uncertainty that is seen as the biggest challenge for our local Marine and Engineering sector.

The multi-criteria analysis undertaken by the Westport Taskforce provides context and evidence of the depth of thinking around the complexity and development of these short-listed options.

The recurring theme in the marine and engineering industry feedback was the positive focus on corridors in and out of a Port rather than nodes, the role of port operators and commercial implications for multiple operators, the differences in capital investment and the rationale behind Roe Highway not being a feasible solution in the base case. The group also noted the importance of links to Latitude 32 and the importance of consideration of the role for local content from our marine suppliers and the local industry.

As a Chamber, it is clear that whatever option is built in the next 10 years, ongoing work is needed for greater promotion of Fremantle as a place to live, entertain and play for workers down at AMC and Kwinana. This will require early consideration of not just freight transport but planning better transport links from Coogee, the AMC and Kwinana into Fremantle.

You are invited to hear more about the shortlisted options at a FREE information event, co-ordinated by the Westport Taskforce, on Wednesday 18 September, 7:30am to 8:00am at the Esplanade Hotel by Rydges, Fremantle.

Register here or email here for futher information.