“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap” Ani DiFranco, Singer/Songwriter

There were many moments this week that had a truly surreal quality to them from a 100 thousand rockers aged between 2 and 102 flocking down Canning Highway in a wonderful community spirited celebration of home grown legend Bon Scott, to a rush on toilet paper emptying the supermarket shelves in some pre-pandemic crazy, to the Premier and Adam Gilchrist describing at the Australian India Business Council and CCIWA export event this morning, the colour and crazy that goes with being a cricketer and a business ambassador in India!

Adam’s quote that rocking up with his profile in India is simply a selfie and a signature without a quality product offering. He noted that WA offers that quality product as a tourism destination and with a diversity of exporting businesses from LNG, pharmaceuticals, fresh produce and mining equipment/logistics to back it up.

As an aside Congratulations to long standing Fremantle Chamber member Peter Fear of Bankwest for his appointment as Vice President of the Australian India Business Council WA Chapter, and the AIBC’s initiative in bringing today’s discussion together. A fascinating insight into a challenging, colourful and culturally diverse marketplace that offers great differences, but also significant commonalities in proximity and historic colonial roots.

Here at the Chamber, our export team note that local exporters have often struggled to navigate their way through high tariffs in India and complex changes to breaking into this markets – chickpeas being one recent example. Further work by the agencies to help navigate this and provide direct flights to Mumbai would be welcomed.

We are pleased to announce for our April learning event this week where we can hear more on the role new markets will play in a rapidly changing exporting landscape.  Join us, in partnership with Westpac and Export Finance Australia, for breakfast on Wednesday 22 April as we hear more from Export Finance Australia’s Chief economist.

Closer to home, how wonderful was it to read in the West today that local businesses were the real winner’s of Sunday’s Highway to Hell event, with businesses like Chamber members the Tradewinds and Clancy’s Fish Pub reporting their best day of trade on record.  Personally I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it – we were standing on a balcony facing Canning Highway with about 20 kids throwing hoops and jumping on a trampoline, hundreds walking past, riding past or hanging about the street like communities should – happy, engaged and having a marvellous time. To Ringmaster and Fremantle resident Iain Grandage and his PIAF team thank you for taking the risk, adventure and ride to bring this event to our community, and our businesses.

We also watched the sunset on the successful 2020 Sculptures at Bathers at Kidogo Arthouse on Sunday. Another fantastic local attraction that had people wondering, watching the sun go down together and appreciating the creativity of our local pool of talented artists.

A glimpse into the courage and risk calculations to bring these events and attractions to us was provided by our panels of at our Set the Month in Motion yesterday. I loved Heather Jackson from McLean Management description of her suggestion to the Board at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh that they should bring a night event in the middle of Winter in Scotland to bring a new perspective on the gardens. Some great advice in the conversation about setting a solid foundation, creating scarcity by finding the difference to give people a reason to come while maintaining relevancy to your own core business.  It will go live on all “Set the Month in Motion” podcast channels next Monday. Well worth a listen.

Finally, our Tourism and Development & Infrastructure Committees both met this week to progress our priority action items for 2020 from the Greater Fremantle Action Plan. Some exciting projects and initiatives around working together to build links between our great attractions, southern corridor transport links and activating upper stories of our heritage spaces.