“Its not who you know, it is who knows you!” David Avrin, Author

I am sure our historic Chamber building walls could tell many stories of local business leaders, their successes and failures. Established in 1873, we are WA’s oldest Chamber and Australia’s second oldest Chamber. Our history and reputation provide much strength in how we provide a concerted voice for Fremantle business at a local, state and federal level. It is also our responsibility to share the stories of our own incredibly diverse range of businesses large and small within our current membership base.

Our doors are always open, and we love to hear your stories, what you are looking for, how we can help you and the issues that you are facing in your business. The more we know about you, the more we can help advocate to make change where it matters.

It is worth learning who represents you in your industry sector on our Chamber Committees, a full list is available on the website here. These individuals are keen to have your feedback about changes in the sector, issues relating to our advocacy projects and how we can better connect with you.

Our Tourism Committee has been busy over the last few months looking at how Fremantle fits into the new Tourism WA “Our Story” campaign”. The idea behind this state-wide campaign is to look at the key values, visitor benefits and notable experiences that can feed into the overall Tourism WA “Adventure Awaits” promotions.

We conducted a series of workshops and brainstorming sessions to define Fremantle from an attractions, accommodation and experience operator perspective. These workshop results were documented (see here) and launched to external stakeholders and media this week. We included in the media release our recent merger between the Fremantle Tourism Association and our Fremantle Chamber Tourism Committee.

Our Development and Infrastructure Committee is pushing ahead with an advocacy project around local procurement and asking the question why our City of Fremantle is the only Chamber within the South West Group of Councils that doesn’t have specific criteria around priority for our local businesses in City tenders.

In addition, work is continuing on our push for better transport routes down the Southern corridor from South Beach to the Kwinana Industries Council. We are also looking closely at some innovative ideas to activate some of our forgotten or empty spaces in the City and continue our successful think tanks with different industry sectors that were initiated last year.

It has been a challenging week on an infrastructure front with delays to the Water Corporation’s large-scale Drainage project, caused by a hold up in approvals by PTA. We have worked with the Minister’s Officer, City of Fremantle and a number of stakeholders to put our hands up to assist in pushing for faster assessment of these approvals with PTA given the significant impact they will have. Unfortunately, to date this offer hasn’t been taken up and we have now wasted over 6 months with no result.

The delays to these drainage works are likely to considerably impact access to Victoria Quay over spring and summer which includes impacts on Chamber members WA Maritime Museum, Freo Harbour Bar, Fremantle Ports, Rottnest Express and Sealink, as well as brand-new Fremantle Business Ocean Cycles Electric Bike Hire. It may also impact on our plans for 2020 Business Awards scheduled for Friday 20 November 2020. We met with the Water Corporation again today, and are pushing for a revised schedule and to take the baton up to PTA.

It is also disappointing to see the patchwork of bitumen replacement down High St after the completion of the Pipes for Fremantle work by the Water Corporation. This has been raised by a number of members this week, and whilst we understand the Water Corporations position that it required consecutive dry days to replace the red asphalt, coming back next year to do more work to replace it doesn’t seem like a positive solution for the businesses down High St.

On a more positive note, our Small Business and Retail Committee were really pleased with the City’s willingness to take on the LEGO activation this school holidays. Although it took some logistical challenge to get it in place, the volume of additional families around the City in the last couple of days has been really positive. We really look forward to seeing the LEGO Masters winners build LIVE next Thursday in Kings Square – how lucky are we to have this creative talent on our doorsteps.

The federal government also announced this week a further $240 million funding injection to extend the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) until the end of the year. This is great news for our local exporters of seafood, agriculture and other products needing to get to market. With so few international passenger flights at present, restoring supply chains is vital to maintaining relationships between exporters and customers around the world. Together, with our strong allies, at the Seafood Trade Advisory Group, we hope some of the initial logistical challenges will be ironed out with this extension and work continue to reduce barriers to our exporters.

Another highlight of the week was showcasing the Doorstep Dinners Project, that we initiated during COVID-19 with St Patricks Community Centre, United Way and Rise Network, to founding sponsors – Minderoo Foundation, in particular their CEO and Community and Environment Lead. Hearing the venues perspectives on what a difference this project had made to their business over this challenging time, and seeing the amazing food delivered to the doorstep of those in need was a wonderful experience. We thank Chamber Members Minderoo again for their rapid and quick support to enable this project to come alive.

If you would like to get even more close to the activities at the Chamber, we have two tenancies of 52m2 and 47m2 available for short or longer term leases within our building. Suite 10A includes a main reception and side office/meeting room, while Suite 11 comes with bucket loads of natural light and views out to the Port cranes. Please contact me directly for further details.

Finally, if you haven’t subscribed and updated your membership payments via our new website, we encourage you to do so now. Our new online Chamber Directory is a wonderful way to allow us to get to know you better and enable you to be part of the concerted voice of those doing business in the greater Fremantle region. We look forward to seeing your profile live soon.