“It’s no use to wait for your ship to come in unless you have sent one out” Belgium Proverb

The challenges of these current times sometimes feels like the opposite of this Belgium Proverb as we sit and wait for a ship to come in, without having even sent one out.

I have been intrigued lately with how fast our communication networks now work. A few years ago it would have defied logic to think our state leaders could hold a press conference at 8pm in the evening and know with complete confidence that all businesses, managers and teams would have the information to effectively roll out what is now becoming the new norm of an immediate lockdown response by the time the sun rises the next day. A critical skill in these times, but incredible to contemplate how fast we adapted to making quick decisions and having the technology and communication systems that allow this new system to work.

On the eve of the end of the financial year, we could have once predicted that the efforts we put in would be evident on the accounts that we are closing, and that these accounts would in fact be a true reflection of business performance. For the first time in my career, I think I am looking at the accounts with a sense of distance and relief that we have even made it through to here. Like so many businesses in WA it has been 12 months of highs and lows, but most of us are still here gathered on the shores of our Port City. Many of us a little worse for wear, but on the whole still standing. How lucky are we to do business here!

Our focus over the next month is to keep looking at the horizon, as we update the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Strategic Plan. This plan was put together in 2018 with a five year timeline in mind. This Strategic Plan, together with the Greater Fremantle Action Plan, has served us well to provide the backbone for the changes we have made to the organisation and our priority areas for advocacy.

I am really pleased that we have seen such significant traction across these priority advocacy areas in recent months – particularly in terms of transport, infrastructure and connectors, bringing together stakeholders around anti-social behaviour issues, local procurement and buy local campaigns, our push for business events and activations across the City and input into a number of regional planning projects.

As a collective, we have put some strong messages out, and we are seeing the returns as the ships start to come back in. However, we still have a long way to go to assist our region to grow, and our businesses to flourish.

I encourage each of you to spend a few moments behind the closed doors of lockdown to complete our 2021 Membership Survey. This is such an important tool to helping us frame the review and our focus for the years ahead.

Stay safe, support our local businesses as best you can through this period and lets hope we are all back at full capacity in our offices, and our venues, in record time.

Read more in this week’s Chamber Weekly here.