Fremantle has long had a strong connection to the sea – we are a Port city after all!

October is our month to live this connection and turn our focus to our marine-based activity. Already this month we have seen a strong contingent of Fremantle businesses represented at the global maritime business event Pacific 2019 in Sydney at the start of the month. There has been high visitation and engagement at the 71st Blessing of the Fleet last weekend, and we will be finishing the month with Maritime Day at Fremantle Port on Saturday.

It is a worthwhile reminder that all of this activity, either here, in the City or through member companies like the Australian Marine ComplexL3 OceaniaAcutec Systems and TAMS Group, brings not only profile to Fremantle, but draws with it people who come to learn more about our City and businesses. This draw includes clients, suppliers and workers who visit our retail and hospitality businesses and fill our hotel rooms.

L3 Oceania Managing Director Eve Clark, pointed out at our recent Leaders Lunch that – the Defence industry, the Marine Complex, our Port and Fishing Boat Harbours provide a focal point for local maritime and technology activity. However, she concluded it is Fremantle itself that provides the place that professional staff from a variety of international shores want to live in, work in and entertain their clients and families in. As a City we need to get better at promoting ourselves for Maritime business.

I raised this issue at an individual briefing provided to the Chamber, by Lt Colonel Peter Sims, Project Director on the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-Program’s Proposed Project. This project is one of the Australian Defence Force’s most significant since WWII and it will provide over 2,000 jobs across the next five years between Garden Island and Henderson. Work packages will include ship building, maritime support, operational infrastructure and domestic training support. Placing Fremantle on their radar for local content and a residential local workforce are such important parts of ensuring Fremantle is positioned to benefit from this project. The Parliamentary Public Works Committee hearing for this project will take place here in WA on 20 November.

One of our key Chamber priorities for 2020 is how we generate local business and encourage others to discover the same and find interesting ways to share the stories of doing business in Fremantle.  Stay tuned as we roll these out over coming months, and diarise Sunday, 1 December as the launch of our Fremantle From the Inside initiative tour of our city for locals and map.

It seems so appropriate with all that talk of marine activity that we will finish the month with the surreal and figurative water display across the Esplanade Park, Fremantle – Waterlicht by Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde this weekend; as part of a calendar of incredible activities at Fremantle Biennale.

I will see you at our stall for Maritime Day, in the hidden corners of our City for Biennale and out in the ocean for a cleansing swim and respite from all this activity on Sunday.

Image: Fremantle, Village By The Sea, Ken Rasmussen