Locals, Legends and Leadership

We have had such positive feedback on the Chamber’s Perspectives on Fremantle Leaders Lunch last Friday. The opportunity to gather over 100 local Business Leaders into the room to look at the diversity of economic drivers of our local economy, how we enhance our assets, and manage the challenges proved so fruitful.

I loved Business News guest Paula Connell’s shared takeout from Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture, The University of Western Australia, when she noted during discussing and curating the architecture, underutilised spaces and ambience of Fremantle, Geoffrey’s comment “talk to a local and bring someone on board who has an understanding of the place”.

One of our key priorities for the year ahead is how we generate local business pride in what we have to offer as a destination, ensure local content is a key driver for local businesses 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.

We hosted our 146th Chamber AGM on Tuesday night, to a full room of members and welcomed in newly elected Board members Natasha Atkinson, Fremantle Markets, Nick Gvozdin, Frichot and Frichot and Pete Adams, Yolk Property Group. We really look forward to their contribution to the Chamber Board and our committees.

In my CEO report to our members, I highlighted a very challenging end to the financial year at the Chamber as we uncovered the depth of the significant restoration work outstanding on our beautiful and majestic 1912 Phillimore St home, the inherited deficit and the impact of a historic declining building tenancy and membership base.

I am so proud with what we have achieved in such a short period of time with all KPIs in core areas looking positive again. I know by the end of the year the messy middle of this change process will start to show its best side.

Since Q2 FY2019, we have achieved a 54% increase in Chamber car park rental revenue, a 10% increase in building tenancy revenue, a positive growth in registration of new exporters, we added 40 new financial members and achieved a break even result in the 2019 Business Awards and Friday’s Leaders Lunch.

This was no mean feat and I thank our small team at the Chamber, our generous Corporate Partners and Sponsors, our Board, our Committees and our members who are the life and energy behind our Chamber. I thank each of you for your commitment, time and resources to helping achieve this.

The Chamber has been promoting prosperity in Fremantle for over 140 years. It is in tougher economic times that our members investment in recognising the role of a “common and united concert” of business voices is so crucial.

Our work with our Greater Fremantle Action Plan has seen us focus our efforts on the quick wins to make Fremantle a better place for the people who will actually inhabit our dwellings, our office spaces, our retail and hospitality spaces, and the additional 750 hotel rooms that are currently being assessed, have received planning approval or are in development. At the AGM, we released an update on the progress of our highlighted priority areas, and our priorities for the conversations we continue to be part of and the programs that we will put into place through our Committees. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly to discuss these priorities in more detail.

Fremantle offers such a unique lifestyle built on connections, sea, creativity and our heritage soul. We have focussed our efforts on our small retail and business sector this year, with a new Committee initiated and already achieving positive change in our advocacy efforts for the Water Corporations Pipes for Fremantle project and the crime and anti-social behaviour improvement drives.

We have acted as host to a total of 1,042 Fremantle business leaders at a variety of events across the year – from networking to learning events, and our annual Business Awards. This participation is actively growing as we work to create better networks and greater interaction with our members and stakeholders. It is these connections that sit at the heart of how we can come together to make a difference.

We have initiated a series of thought leadership forums, starting with our Property Leaders Forum and our Defence Industries Forum, in partnership with the WA Defence Review. This series continues across this financial year with our Marine and Engineering Forum (August) and Arts and Cultural Industry leaders (September). These think tanks are providing great insight to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing these core sectors, culminating in our successful Chamber Leaders Lunch on Fremantle Leaders Perspectives on Friday.

It was great to see many of the action items in our Creative Industries think tank picked up by the Mayor and the City in the Economic Development Review this week, and we look forward to working more closely to deliver on these items.

We are pushing for a better Visitor’s Centre outcome for Fremantle, working with the Department of Communities to welcome their 1,600 new workers early next year and will continue to build business capacity through our successful series of “Set the Month in Motion” Forums and Podcasts, run in partnership with the City of Fremantle. If you haven’t downloaded or listened to one of our podcasts yet please do so NOW. They are available on every major podcast station, and our next Trends in Social Media will feature some of our State’s progressive leaders in this area.

I am looking forward to our Development & Infrastructure Committee, the Tourism Committee, and the Small Business and Retail Committees going from strength to strength as we deliver on our focus areas under the Greater Fremantle Action plan. Thank you to each of the members of these Committees for your work and support. We will formally ratify the 2020 Committee members at our November Board meeting.

I am really positive that the strong platform we have now created will enable us to exceed the targets set by our Strategic Plan and that this time next year we will be looking at a very different Fremantle – complete with an ACDC legend tribute, the Clippers Round the World Race return to Fremantle and maybe even a bit of Chilli Festival action back in Fremantle again in the new year!

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Image: @flotsamandjetsam6162