“All things change and we change with them” Chinese Proverb

Goodness things are changing rapidly at the moment as we grapple with the escalation of the Omicron variant, the changing approaches to how we manage the next few months and even our expectations on what is coming up on the horizon.

Last Thursday saw the announcement of the support packages for international education providers, tourism and aviation industries and the events sector, which included:

  • $20m Tourism Support Program comprising $10,000 for sole traders and $20,000 for employing businesses to offset expenses incurred by the delay; or
  • $15m Tourism Deposit Refund Program offering grants of up to $50,000 to compensate for cancelled bookings;
  • $10m boost to the existing Aviation Recovery Fund to secure flights into WA;
  • $3m Travel Agent Support Fund offering grants of up to $10,000 for eligible home-based agents and $20,000 to eligible brick-and-mortar businesses.
  • $10m extension and expansion of the Getting the Show Back on the Road Program to cover up to 75 per cent of lost ticket sales for events impacted by government mandates; and
  • $3m Event Suppliers Support Program offering $10,000 grants for sole traders, $20,000 for small businesses and $50,000 for large businesses with pre-COVID annual turnover of more than $1m.

More information on the programs and how to apply can be found here.

In addition, last Thursday saw the release of Tourism WA’s strategy – Reconnect WA – following a series of consultation events that the Chamber was actively involved in. The findings of the consultation include ways to address workforce shortages (including opening up borders for international students and working holiday makers), events and trade, airline routes and connectivity, regional infrastructure and connection needs, collaborations, a need to promote the uniqueness of all of WA (and not just outback and nature experiences) and ways to assist tourism organisations manage overhead and costs while waiting for borders to re-open. The new strategy noted primary targets as high value, visiting family and friends and working holiday makers – all markets we know rate the Fremantle region’s heritage, hospitality, local seafood and food produce, and culture as significant highlights of their WA experience. Unfortunately Fremantle was not listed in the Indulgent Food & Wine, Aquatic or hero experiences – rather Margaret River, Kings Park & the Swan Valley were listed. Fremantle has so much to offer on the new Reconnect WA values – particularly across the themes of connection, time, space and freedom. Our Chamber Tourism Committee will continue to work hard to lobby Tourism WA for greater profile and inclusion in the Reconnect WA strategy. I participated in a 6PR radio interview on Friday afternoon discussing Fremantle’s key new assets worth promoting and encourage you all to continue to raise Fremantle’s profile as a destination of choice in all your engagements.

Our Marine & Engineering Committee met for their first meeting with talent attraction, profile and pathways on the agenda. The Committee has designed a strong proposal that will see us work more closely with Fremantle College, South Metro TAFE and other job providers to promote and deliver the workforce of the future into this much needed local sector. We will also be working with For.Blue on a regional Blue Economy Gravity Project for start-ups in this sector,  a full announcement on this in a couple of weeks.

It is pleasing to see a big announcement for Chamber members MG Kailis and Seaharvest this week as they combine forces to achieve greater economies of scale and ensure a long term future at Fishing Boat Harbour for vessel maintenance, refit and general marine activities to support seafood production and export facilities.

Marine Infrastructure and facilities continue to be a big focus for our work over the next 12 months, and particularly ensuring connecting our harbours for the local marine services industry. fishing, superyachts and recreational boating sectors is maintained for Fremantle into the future.

In anticipating change ahead, we have SO many events on the horizon for the next two weeks, we are already exhausted just thinking about it!!   The majority of the events are outdoors making the most of our incredible spaces – register now to come down and participate while you can before the world changes yet again, with a focus on Health, Wellness and Connection there is something for all our members. Come down and learn more.

I also encourage you to also support Sculptures at Bathers Beach launching this week – never a better time to support our creative industries and the local talent we have on our doorstep.

I look forward to seeing as many members as possible down at Bathers Beach next Thursday for the Business After Hours networking drinks and Salute to the Sun and the Friday lunchtime Expo and activities. Bring your teams, your clients, your investment targets and your friends to show them how we really do business in this amazing part of the world.


Read more in the Chamber Weekly here.