“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Garvey

It was obviously a big week of announcements here in Fremantle this week. Westport announcing Kwinana’s land back port option as the future for port and associated transport infrastructure is not surprising news but obviously has significant implications for Fremantle.

It raises big questions around how Fremantle maintains its historic connections as a Port city, why we have no connections through the southern transport corridor to link our residential heartland, and the marine and coastal industries back into our city and how we create the diversity of industry in Fremantle required to manage this change into the future.

The announcement of a catalyst for development of Victoria Quay through transformation of Victoria Quay’s A Shed at Gage Roads into a brewery, restaurant and bar showcasing one of Fremantle’s biggest recent success stories and Chamber Member Gage Roads is very welcome. There is some disappointment amongst our members that the rumoured film industry haven’t set up shop just yet but it is great news for Gage Roads to find home by their namesake and continue their journey to become Australia’s best brewer, and reflects the hard work of Fremantle Ports, WA Museum and other stakeholders to reach this point.

We hope in all of this, it is just the starting point of better connectors via Cliff St and the train station into the Quay, and the rumour regarding the Indian Pacific’s new home in Fremantle coming to fruition to truly start to activate this incredible space by our Port.

Our Tourism Committee received much welcome presentations this week by Tourism WA on our work to fit into their “our story” planning framework and narrative, and the vision for a new visitors’ centre, and associated link points at Pioneer Park and the Cruise Passenger terminal by Sirona Capital. Our Tourism Industry is so enthused by the opportunity both of these initiatives present to share the unique experiences provided by the sector to those visiting Fremantle.

I was privileged to participate in one of the education programs at the WA Maritime Museum during the week. The way the stories of immigration and early experiences are presented in the upper gallery trolleys were a credit to the way we tell the diverse stories of our past. I was also impressed by the role the Port plays in stories of arrival, change, family, opportunity and growth. They are stories of hardship, challenge, misunderstanding and diversity but there is a common thread to all of them that is reflected in why we still do business here to this day.

Our next Set the Month in Motion, sponsored by the City of Fremantle’s Building Business Capacity program, will reflect on our links to Aboriginal history, culture and stories, and how we better integrate diversity into our workplaces. I am so looking forward to this unique discussion and am very thankful to our panel of guests who have been so willing to support this conversation and give up their time to participate. There are more details further in the Chamber Weekly – register now to attend in person or via the live facebook feed link.

It was great to hear of one of our Panelists Kieran Wong, Partner at The Fulcrum Agency begin their involvement with CareerTrackers, a national partnership program that places Indigenous students in paid internship positions this week also. This is a program that requires a commitment to developing a long and equitable relationship between the employer and student, with permanent employment the long-term goal.

The agency was joined by Alan Pigram, a first-year Curtin University graphic design student, with a broad interest that includes art and architecture. The team have valued his skill in drawing and put him to task creating a series of illustrations to explain some of the work they have been doing in the Northern Territory. To read Alan’s reflection of his time at TF.A, click here: https://www.thefulcrum.agency/2020/08/welcome-to-alan-pigram

We gathered our Development and Infrastructure Committee this week to consider the new West End Heritage Policy draft produced by the City of Fremantle. We will be developing a Chamber position on this policy across the coming fortnight and would welcome the feedback of any our members on this policy. More information can be at http://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/westendand please forward any thoughts to membership@fremantlechamber.com.au.

Chamber members Megara development have also released a DA for a significant new development at McCabe Street North Fremantle. Well worth a look at the $60m development proposed which has been supported by robust stakeholder engagement and place planning. https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/da-19mccabestreet

We have also been closely focussed on our own heritage and story here at the Chamber this week. We received a presentation from Prior and Hall who are developing the old Woodside Maternity hospital into aged care. Once the grand home of our founding 1873 President W.D Moore it will be great to see new life breathed into the building and we hope as a Chamber to engage in this story as it develops and support the boost to the local economy in terms of direct employment of some 400 workers, and indirect opportunities for local business through the proposed wellness centre.

The restoration of our North East wall of the Chamber building is almost complete as we move to secure the brickwork for another 100 years and restore our old dame to some of its former glory. We are very grateful to our membership base for their contribution to keeping our building functioning and providing the focus point of our Committee gatherings and role in Fremantle’s local economy.

It is definitely a poignant time to celebrate the diversity of our industry base. We encourage all of our members, and local businesses, to put their hat in the ring for this year’s Fremantle Business Awards 2020. Business News have committed to sponsor the awards this week and the opportunity for exposure of your business through the awards process is significant. Help us share the word on the diversity and talent we have within the region and our historic streets. NOMINATE NOW!

Let’s keep building our Chamber through stronger and stronger connections, a eye on our heritage and past and continuing to provide a clear voice on the issues that matter to the economic growth of our region.