After spending six weeks post-surgery with the stamina of an arboreal mammal, it is wonderful to finally be in a place to start to think about the New Year, the new decade and what 2020 will bring to Fremantle.

As we often say here at the Chamber, great ideas flow in and out of Port cities, and this month is a great time to think about new and creative ways to meet the challenges this year will bring.

The start to the New Year across Australia has been unprecedented in its call for change and action. How this will unfold is yet to be seen, but we must watch closely and identify what opportunities can be realised across our incredible diversity of local businesses.

CCI WA’s quarterly business confidence survey report released yesterday paints a fairly grim picture across for all sectors of our economy and reform will be required at all levels of government to help businesses navigate their way through 2020.

With the horror of Australia’s fires decimating so much of our country’s natural bushland and affecting so many regional communities, the impact on our national economy is also starting to be discussed as damage is assessed to millions of hectares of agricultural land, vineyards and countless livestock.

From dairy farmers who can’t get their milk out the farm gate, to winemakers contemplating how to even begin to rebuild after such widespread damage to historic vines, through to supply chains and operations down across the eastern seaboard – we have learnt how quickly the world can change for regional communities and local businesses, and this flows through to our national position.

The immediate impact of the fires on rising costs and reduced supply of vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy over the next few months, means we will need to find retailers who stock local produce, while doing what we can to support communities over east.

We will also need to start thinking about ways we can all reduce our energy use and environmental footprint.

We are so grateful that our Chamber export desk has had a busy start to the year with a strong lobster and festive seafood season, and the dinosaurs have brought large numbers of young visitors to town across a traditionally quiet time of year.

With all this in mind, I invite you to start your year by getting more out of your Chamber membership – join the conversation, network and learn alongside us.

Join us in the Boardroom next Thursday, 23 January as we gather with a group of local leaders to set aside an hour or two with Business Foundations’ leading facilitator to refine your goals for the year, get your mindset focussed and network with members of the 2019 Fremantle Business Awards Winner’s Circle.

This will be followed by the our first Set the Month in Motion live Podcast Forums for 2020, sponsored by the City of Fremantle’s Building Capacity program. Join us bright and early on Wednesday, 5 February for this FREE discussion on how develop and build positive workplace cultures to achieve our common goals. As always you can catch up on past forums at our Podcast Station on AppleGoogle or Spotify.

I am really pleased to welcome a new member to our team who will be helping co-ordinate these events – Fremantle local Kellie Jacobs joins us next week on a casual basis as an Events and Media Officer. Kellie brings years of creativity, events management, photography and social media experience to help us capture all that is great about doing business in Fremantle.

Speaking of doing great business in Fremantle, we have welcomed 4 new corporate partners to the Chamber this year, and as a special vote of thanks for their commitment to Fremantle business, we have arranged a special evening, sponsored by the wonderful team the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation, for our Corporate Partners to join the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Board and Committee. I can’t wait to be aboard this majestic vessel at an exclusive networking event on Thursday, 20 February.

So in conclusion, 2019 thank you for the lessons, 2020 you are shaping up to be very interesting. Let’s get aboard and do this!

Image: The Duykfen Foundation