“We are Defined Not by Our Borders, but By Our Bonds” 
Barack Obama

After more than 700 days of border closure we are now officially open, with an estimated 8,000 arrivals heading through the airport today. It feels quite surreal yet quite a cautious celebration as we also enter Level 2 restrictions, which will have a significant impact on many of our local businesses – particularly those in the event, hospitality and attractions space.

The Chamber’s leading attractions and hospitality members met last Friday with Minister Simone McGurk MLA, Member for Fremantle to discuss these challenges and ways that the state government could assist to alleviate the incredible pressure on these businesses. There is more detail on this below, with a link to the summary of the discussion here.

On events, it was with disappointment that we postponed our highly subscribed event with the Fremantle Dockers on March 17th due to current restrictions and also a need to protect the players in the lead up to the season. We will have more details on the rescheduled time as soon as we can make it happen. We have looked closely at our upcoming events and have made the decision to also hold on our Business After Hours in April and May until the world settled a little. We will announce next week a new virtual networking opportunity for members to sign up and regsister – watch this space.

Our outdoors event for International Women’s Day, sponsored by RSM Fremantle, will still be held outdoors in the beautiful University of Notre Dame School of Education courtyard on Tuesday 8th March. We have a great panel line up of female leaders across a wide variety of business from Corporate to Small to Medium Business. I so hope you can join us for this discussion. Endota Spa will be supporting the event with a gift bag and the team at Matchworks will be working to serve our members from their upcoming trainees in hospitality and barista. You can register to attend here.

I have been pondering International Women’s Day in the lead up to preparing for the Q&A for this event. It has been intriguing to me that our last few events have been so sharply divided on gender with a majority of male members registered for the Fremantle Dockers event, and predominantly female members signing up for Frida’s Sip & Paint and the Fremantle Health & Wellness Festival. This strikes me as still such a traditional gender divide – do men not paint, women play football, men not take care of their health and women only stretch?

We still have so far to go to “blast the gender bias” right down to this casual observation – why it is okay to network over golf but not a stretch on the beach, why does business still get done downstairs in dark whisky and cigar clubs and not out in the sunshine and the list goes on, but more importantly and on a more serious note, why are the local leaders of our creative industries like Architecture and Urban Design, the education sector, accounting and law firms all still so similar in their demographic. We know if we take a look at our university graduates in these fields they look anything like the same bias, what happens once these bright young things enter the workforce and enter middle management? I’m looking forward to our discussion on these observations and more with our panel on Tuesday.  *PS by way of note the event is open to male and female leaders so please do come along to join the conversation!!

The Chamber was proud to be involved in the launch of Blue Gravity this week, and to be working with the partners on delivery of a number of programs. There is more information on how to get involved in this exciting opportunity for emerging marine businesses below and via the link here.

Finally as borders open today, our labour market pool will suddenly expand – well worth listening to some great tips and tricks on recruiting and knowing your unique proposition before you hit the SEEK ad in this month’s learning forum and podcast Set the Month in Motion. Listen here.

Keep safe and well, and for those of you welcoming back family and friends this weekend – enjoy those long overdue self distanced hugs, bonds and smiles. We need them.


Read more in the Chamber Weekly here.