Our successful 2020 Set the Year in Motion personal goal setting event on Thursday evening reminded me of the incredible diversity of our local Fremantle economy, the talent and willingness to come together a community.

The Chamber has been a flurry of activity this week following our successful 2020 Set the Year in Motion personal goal setting event on Thursday evening. A big shout out to Fremantle Foundation’s Brian Grindod for his insightfulness through-out the evening and our members for sharing their experiences and thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing those goals imagined locked and loaded until we are all saying “Yes! that’s what I’m about” across 2020.

Our Small Business & Retail Committee had their first meeting for the year this week. The meeting set the focus areas for the small business and retail component of our Greater Fremantle Action Plan.

Advocating the City and the State to keep their focus on anti-social behavior and crime reduction, articulating Fremantle’s experience and retail offering to a wider audience, building business capacity through our Set the Month in Motion monthly podcast panels, lobbying for activations that bring people to the City (such as the recent dinosaurs or the revival of Chilli Festival), and working with the Water Corporation, Western Power and other utilities on infrastructure and lighting projects to improve business outcomes were identified as the core priorities for the year.

We also started the planning for our new upcoming events – our sunset tour of our Corporate Partner’s Australian Marine Complex and a partnership with the Perth Advertising and Design Club for our April business after hours event that set some interesting tones. Diarise March 19th and April 23rd respectively for these events.

Last night’s City of Fremantle Council meeting also set the tone for interesting times coming up locally  – the controversial lease terms of the new Kings Square hospitality venue certainly attracted attention. Interesting to also see the City take the lead on entertainment precincts and sound levels – hoping this can help set the scene for the continuation of our local music industry (and maybe even attract WAM to officially make Fremantle the home for the WA music industry into the future).

As noted last week, we understand from some members of the community that the City’s proposed Kings Square hospitality leasing sits uncomfortably despite Council’s decision last night to approve the terms.

This proposal is intended to sit alongside FOMO, the proposed redevelopment of the Old Court House precinct and Freo.Social to create a hub of activity within the newly activated town centre at Kings Square.

The arrival of over 1,800 workers from the Department of Communities and Transport into the area, and the commencement of Little Lane apartments adjacent to this precinct will see an injection of local workers and residents to the area. However, as the lack of proposals put forward for this opportunity demonstrates, large scale hospitality venues come with significant commercial risk and uncertain demand in the current market.

As a Chamber we will watch closely to ensure the viability of these precincts live up to their commercial objectives, and that the City maintains its focus on its own core business and works hard to ensure strong and ethical commercial operators bring these projects to fruition.

In more challenging news of the week, the massive impact of the coronavirus on our local WA cray fish industry hit with a bolt this week as exports ground to a halt during peak season. Our export desk has felt the immediate impact of the ceasing of trade. We wait with bated-breath to hopefully see the situation contained, short lived and trade resuming promptly. Our thoughts are with our local industry and distributors.

We are also in communication with all local exporters and agents on the transition to the new electronic platform across Australia this week. For further details or assistance through the transition please contact our export desk and team.

Finally, I look forward to seeing you for our “Creating a Positive Workplace Culture” Set the Month in Motion next Wednesday and continuing the conversation around how we continue to showcase our local diversity, community and industry.