Premier’s Announcement Triggers Kings Square Development

Kings Square was a great place to be this morning. Premier Colin Barnett announced the Government’s decision to move the Department of Housing, the Department of Corrective Services and some sections from the Department of Transport into a redeveloped Myers Building as part of the redevelopment of King’s Square. Finance Minister Sean L’Estrange spoke of the economic benefit for the State Government and Fremantle. For the State Government, the decentralisation deal will deliver savings of $53 million over 15 years.

Today’s announcement is a game changer for Fremantle. By 2020, 1500 workers  will be coming into the City Monday to Friday. Even the build process will bring many hundreds into the heart of Fremantle. Beyond new people coming to Fremantle when we need them the most, the Kings Square development will give Fremantle a true heart with new civic and community facilities.

Congratulations to Matthew McNeilly, Sirona Capital, Mayor Brad Pettit and the team at the City of Fremantle for staying the course. The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be a long term supporter of the vision for more people to live and work in Fremantle.  Our business community needs it. Fremantle needs it.

Fremantle Matters – State of the State Luncheon with the Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, Leader of the Opposition

Sometimes all we see of our leaders are door stop style events, that deliver snappy slogans. These are great for media but don’t do justice for what you need to know for your business or industry. So Fremantle Chamber is committed to getting you access to the substance and detail behind the slogans.

So far in 2016, our State of the State Luncheons have seen State Government Ministers speaking about major projects impacting the Fremantle region (Freight Link and the sale of Fremantle Port). So before WA well and truly moves into election mode, the Chamber is pleased to welcome the Hon Mark McGowan MLA, Leader of the Opposition to speak to the business community on Friday 21st October about plans a WA Labor State Government has for the Fremantle region.

Fremantle is a great place to live and visit. It is also a major hub for Western Australia’s trade, tourism, engineering and marine industries and still has significant opportunities for development. The policies of any future State Government are going to have a major impact on economic viability and lifestyle. In the last few days alone, positioning of political sides has escalated with some prominent infrastructure challenges laid bare.

Our State of the State lunch with the Hon Mark McGowan MLA is more than a chance to hear more from the Leader of the Opposition, it is about your future.

I look forward to seeing you at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle – by Rydges on Friday 21 October.

Tickets are available for purchase through the Chamber’s website by clicking here or for more information email Zoe Saunders at

Welcoming Marcela Ekin de Castro to the Chamber

After a variety of farewells this week, Victoria Willetts heads off for Canada in the next few days with all of our best wishes.  This means a new person steps into the role of the Chamber’s Executive Manager and there’s is no better time than now  to make the formal introduction to Marcela Ekin de Castro.

Marcela joined the Chamber in June in the Export documentation services area.  She came to Western Australia earlier this year after working with the Canberra based Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) for nearly a decade. In that time Marcela worked across a range of ACCI’s operations in administration, project management, research and analysis, event management and communications. 

Since graduating in Economics from the Universidad del Rosario, Bogota Colombia, Marcela has gained her Master of International Business and Graduate Diploma in International Affairs from the Australian National University. Just prior to joining the Chamber, Marcela added a Certificate III in Logistics from Challenger Institute of Technology.

Welcome Marcela, we look forward to you being part of the continuing development of the Fremantle Chamber. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself to Marcela at Chamber events over coming months.

Something will sparkle in 2017. Freo Cracker Night to return.

It has been tumultuous couple of weeks in Fremantle. With City HQ blinkers set to high position, a major family event that attracted many tens of thousands to Fremantle was cancelled without a speck of regard for the economic impact for hospitality, tourism and the marine sector. It was never a great day for retail but it was an extraordinary day for profile, a great reminder that Fremantle is open for business.

Even though the game was over before the shouting started with the budget significantly reduced months ago, our position remains the same. The Chamber’s objection to the decision was all about reputation, profile, economic impact AND the process taken. Now it is about to making sure that economic impact is considered with every decision City HQ makes.

In the meantime, January 26th will not be without some sparkle. The Fishing Boat Harbour Traders are taking us back to where it began – the Freo Cracker Night.

The budget is not as big so it will be a shorter event. But YOU could make a difference. Thunderous applause to the Fishing Boat Harbour.

If you are able to be a partner in presenting the Freo Cracker Night please contact Eddie Watling on

City HQ are progressing with their family picnic day concept with concert plans for the weekend following the 26th January 2017.


Making Sparks Fly

Fireworks - 1.jpg


Tonight the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce will continue its opposition to the cancellation of the 2017 Australia Day Fireworks at the August City of Fremantle Council. If you wish to join us please do so. The meeting starts at 6pm this evening, but the agenda item (FPOL 1608-4) is deep into the evening’s proceedings so be prepared for a night out/in.

The Chamber’s objection to the decision is all about reputation, profile, economic impact AND the process taken. There was a lot that City HQ didn’t think about and still hasn’t. We met with the Mayor and council staff last week to discuss but our position remains unchanged. It is not good enough that such a profile event is cast aside after admitting the “process has not been ideal”.

The Australia Day Fireworks are a significant event for Fremantle with it driving over $2.5million into the local economy – especially in the hospitality and marine industries. The Chamber has never claimed it to be a great day for retail but it is an extraordinary day for profile. Never more than now do we need people to come to Fremantle, this event is a great reminder that we are open for business

The City may well believe there were a lot of right reasons to head into “researching alternatives” but rushing the 2017 cancellation through has not delivered a good enough replacement for what has become one of the great family events of the region.

With Council factoring in 5% cuts across operations for the 16/17 budget, the Australia Day Firework budget was magically/strategically cut by 37% taking the brunt for other project areas. Well before it went to Council for ratification the Fireworks were doomed to fail.

Tonight the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce will call for the decision to be deferred, and:

  • The 2017 & 2018 Fireworks to proceed, giving Council staff adequate time to consult across the community (including the business community) as to an appropriate celebration;
  • The restitution of the budget for the Australia Day Fireworks; and
  • The implementation of a comprehensive consultation and engagement program across the community to ensure the decision of Council for future celebrations reflects the outcome of this consultation process.

Fireworks Go Bang!

It was but a little mention in The Sunday Times on August 7th but it set off all the bells and whistles, with the news of the City of Fremantle’s proposal to cancel the 2017 Australia Day Fireworks Show.

The response from our members and business community was overwhelmingly shocked and surprised at the decision. From its proud origins as a “Cracker Night” the event had become one of the great family events of the region.

For those confused about how the event has a positive economic spin for Fremantle, I will keep it simple. Hospitality does well on the day. The fireworks don’t hurt retail too much because the afternoon is largely a retail write off anyway. People are not really in a buying mindset because they are preparing to go wherever they are going.

So it actually is one of the easiest days of the year to close some roads and play host to an event that brings tens of thousands of people into Fremantle and the local vantage points. Bring the family to Fremantle, have a good time and go home bearing good thoughts of their visit to Fremantle. Our objection to the decision is all about reputation, profile AND the process taken. There was a lot that City HQ didn’t think about.

So my presentation to the City of Fremantle Policy and Finance Committee last week was as follows:

“Thank you for the opportunity speak on the matter of the cancellation of the Australia Day Fireworks in 2017 and 2018.

The Australia Day fireworks are one of the most loved family events Fremantle presents and the 50,000 (and increasing) people it brings to Fremantle build our reputation.

The Chamber is very aware that the Council’s Festival & Events program is not required to consider economic impact in the delivery and development of events. I am here today because this needs to change.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce does not support the cancelation or transferring of the Fireworks because of the impact on the reputation of Fremantle.  

In a period where people don’t need to come to Fremantle anymore, this event has a significant impact on our local economy – its builds a reputation as a family friendly place, a reputation our CBD sorely needs.

The media commentary over the last two days, has inspired a strong bond. The business community does not agree with the proposal. If consulted prior to today this reaction would be the same.

Some feedback from the business community are as follows:

  • There appears to have been very little thought to or consultation with business before placing this item on the Agenda and as a result the business economy of our city looks to be the casualty once again.
  • There has been little done by way of policy or promotion to encourage new business or re-invigorate the economy. This event has been one of the only success stories in recent years and now they want to take it away?
  • I have spoken to many customers & my team & the feedback has been that the fireworks on Australia Day is of bringing together of families & the community. As such we would not be supporting any cancellation of the Fireworks.
  • Should there be a reduction of families attending this festivity it will cause a negative effect on all businesses.
  • It will definitely have a negative affect on our business. If the foot traffic is down on a public holiday it may not be viable to open with the penalty rates that we need to pay we would reconsider our trading hours, the previous owners did not open Australia Day… 
  • I would hazard a guess that the council do not have anything in place yet to replace what we are currently doing.


 There are some business that don’t make a cent on Australia day but they don’t begrudge the celebration of fireworks because it gives people a great Fremantle experience.

 Yes the date selected for the celebration of Australia Day is historically pretty hollow and the Chamber understands there is a need to build more respectful national celebration.

 For now, this event has a huge positive economic impact on the business community of Fremantle. Build the alternate event over time but do not “rob Peter to buy Paul”.

With no public celebration of Australia Day on Australia Day – Fremantle will be muted. The Mayor has commented on his discomfort at the mode of celebration, right now the most uncomfortable thing for Fremantle is to be muted.

If Fremantle is serious about being seen to be the “second city” of our metropolitan area – we need to shine. Not pass the joy to our neighbours.

I ask the Committee to not endorse the proposal.”

We also need to look back at what happened in Fremantle on that day before the fireworks were established. With no activation, groups of humans roamed the streets making new public installations of rubbish bins and glass, interspersed with quite aggressive interpretative dance. There aren’t many people that want to go back to that scenario.

It may well be that Fremantle is closed for business on Australia Day. Perhaps a well deserve rest day for all.

Digital know how for your business: Choose E-Biz this July

There are boundless digital opportunities and platforms to present your business to the world. Whilst you are getting on with the job of running your business, most will parcel up the job of a businesses digital presence and delegate to someone else, an external consultant or employee. They get on with the job and come back to you for major decisions and approvals. However you choose, it is a significant investment in someone’s time and/or money.

So how are you making decisions about that significant investment? Do you have complete faith in others or make strategically informed decisions about who to use, what platforms and systems you will be recommended? Why have a website, when you can use social media platforms?

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce E-Biz series is about moving you towards strategically informed status. It is the underlying know how you really need to make your digital representation effective without retaining to be a geek?

These workshops are for you if you are thinking about stepping up your online presence, sorting your way through a raft of highly techno looking website proposals or just starting from scratch.

Website Development: Domain Name, Hosting, Content Management Systems & Shopping Carts
Tuesday, 21 July 2016

A look at how to build a website that works effectively for your business. From registering your domain name and organising website hosting, finding a website developer who doesn’t need to cost you the earth, through to choosing the right Content Management Systems (CMS) or shopping cart to support your future business direction.

Website Development: E-Commerce
Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The basics of e-commerce. We will show you how to plan an e-commerce website and also understand the 7 basic elements of e-commerce including shopping carts, payment gateways, customer service and returns. We will show you examples of B2B and B2C e-commerce sites and teach you the steps to plan your own e-commerce site so you can give Amazon a run for their money!


Ed Keay-Smith, of Online Impact, presents both sessions.   It is his job to know the ins and out of website development and ecommerce. Earlier I put the question ‘Why have a website, when you can use social media platforms?’, Ed gave me the answer during an E Biz series late last year. He may give it again. To find out more come along to either or both sessions!

Tickets: $50 members   $60 non members

Book at the following link:

June 30 – Could a Tax Deduction be ever sweeter?

Earlier in the week I read of a major charity reducing staff numbers delivering community services because of a drop in donations. With June 30th looming, my thoughts turned to our members who are registered gift recipients.

Times are a little tougher but there are still people that need to find a tax deduction or two before the end of the financial year. There are also some great Fremantle organisations who can use those funds wisely and we have decided to help you make a decision.

Since 1972, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre has worked to help those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless in Fremantle and the wider south west metropolitan region of Perth. Donated funds are channeled to crisis accommodation, food and meals services, supplies for daily living, health and allied services, education and training and arts, music and recreation. For more information head to or call 9430 4159.

You also send funds to St Pat’s by utilising the City of Fremantle collection boxes. You don’t get a receipt but the City of Fremantle matches you dollar for dollar, or even 5 cents for 5 cents.

Uniting Care West has expanded the services it provides in the Fremantle area and opened a new Service Centre in Market Street last year. Services delivered include those for children and families, financial counselling, emergency relief services and Homelessness Accommodation and Support Services (HASS). For more information head to

Fremantle Foundation’s Impact 100 Fremantle inspires at least 100 donors to each contribute $1,000 annually and then pools the contributions to make high impact grants to local charities and projects in the Fremantle region. This year’s campaign is underway right now – fundraising and decision making. For more information contact Dylan Smith on 0410 202 610 or head to

When you adopt a Spare Part Puppet Theatre puppet you are supporting the Access and Inclusion program that provides subsidised ticketing and bussing for disadvantaged school from across the Perth metropolitan area. Or you can just make a general donation. More information is online at or contact Megan Roberts on 9335 5044.

If what matters is purple, Fremantle Football Club has a raft of programs and infrastructure plans for your end of year donation. Take a punt and head to to find out more or call 08 9433 716

If literature is your thing, look no further than Fremantle Press, celebrating 40 years in 2016 of publishing stories by Western Australians about West Australians. For more information contact Jane Fraser on 9430 6331 or email

The vista of ship masts in Fremantle is the ever present reminder of our maritime heritage and major ship building projects over 30 years ago. So if sailing is your thing, Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation is all about keeping STS Leeuwin II, Western Australian’s very own tall ship, in ship-shape for the next generation of 14 to 25 year-olds to engage in awarding-winning youth development and leadership program. For more information head to

Finally, education. In the grand scheme of things, the University of Notre Dame Australia is a very young University but is packing some punch in the top two universities nationally for “Overall Quality of Educational Experience” in 2016. The University of Notre Dame’s 2016 Annual Appeal features a general fund, the Future Scholarships Fund, and the In the World for the World program. For more information call 9433 0575 or email

The Big Night

Friday, 10 June 2016 was the big night for business in Fremantle with the Fremantle Business Awards culminating in a great celebration.

Karl Bullers of The National Hotel Fremantle took to the stage twice to collect the Rottnest Express Excellence in Hospitality Award and AFA Insurance Brokers Outstanding New Business Award. Yes, The National has been pub since the 1860’s but there was an almighty gap in recent times before Carnegies set to making it right.

Artitja Fine Art has strived to respectfully treat Indigenous artists and art centres, as a continuation of the culture & life choices of the indigenous community and for that they won the City of Fremantle Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

Ellen Health made the stage their own in 2016. In year two of operation in the renovated and refit Beacon Theatre on Wray Avenue, Ellen Health is a state of the art medical practice providing a full suite of services to meet community needs. Dr Catherine Douglass was awarded the Ford and Doonan Air Conditioning Outstanding Personal Achievement Award for her leadership of the development of the new center. The TOLL Intermodal Excellence in Professional Services Award recognized the delivery of the entire team at Ellen Health.

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (SPPT) took out the TAMS Group Outstanding Cultural Enterprise Award for the second year running. More than just one of our local theatre companies, SPPT is Australia’s flagship puppetry company and a driving force in the puppetry landscape in Australia and globally since 1981. On top of that they bring thousands of people to Fremantle to see their production and take Fremantle with them when they tour the nation and the world.

The Community Newspaper Group Outstanding Community Event Award was hotly contested but it was the dedicated team behind the legendary Growers Green Farmers Market providing the opportunity to shop for fresh, grower-direct fruit & veg, locally made goods, and organic, ethically produced and fair-trade goods. The place to be every Sunday.

The Quest Fremantle Retail Excellence Award went to Fremantle Opals one of Fremantle’s long standing retailers, specialising in our national stone in its rough form through to fine handcrafted jewellery.

The City of Fremantle Award for Sustainability Initiative was won by Carnegie Wave Energy. In our very own front yard, Carnegie Wave Energy is the inventor, owner & developer of the patented CETO wave energy technology that converts ocean swell into zero-emission renewable power & desalinated freshwater.

Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation provides a completely unique experience, for adventurous people who are interested in taking part in the sailing activities as well as those who just like to sit back & relax. It is a tall ship offering that is unique to Fremantle and the reason they won the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle – by Rydges Tourism Excellence Award.

Highly successful marketing campaigns (#ilovemyrotto and ‘More’), collaboration on events, social media integration and much, much more was the reason Rottnest Express won the University of Notre Dame Australia Award for Excellence in Strategy, Marketing and Communications.

 A little later Rottnest Express was awarded the Fremantle Port Authority Marine Industry Excellence Award, for their business to business, business to consumer services through small container freight from Northport to Rottnest Island.

Roll the drums – in determining who would be the Bankwest Business of the Year, the judges went back to the highest score. 

The Bankwest Business of the Year achieved outstanding excellence in many facets of their business not only in innovation and customer service, but also the contribution made to the local business community. Congratulations to Rottnest Express.

But that’s not all, it doesn’t finish with the big winner. There was stiff competition in a number of categories and some standout Fremantle companies were highly commended. Sure never as good as the trophy but with only one point the difference still very significant.


Our congratulations also go to:

Josh Byrne & Associates (Sustainability Initiative Award)

IFAP Chief Operating Officer, Mark Small (Outstanding Personal Achievement)

The Honeycake and the Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub Swim (Outstanding New Business)

DADAA (Outstanding Cultural Enterprise)

Digit Books ( Excellence in Professional Services)


Alongside the sponsors mentioned through out this piece, our event sponsors also included Little Creatures Brewing, Ferngrove, La Vigna, Barbagallo & Aston Martin.

If anything the 2016 Fremantle Business Awards remind us all that there is no limit to the amazing things that happen in business in Fremantle. We look forward to seeing you again in 2017.



Fremantle Business Wins

There are three significant days in the delivery of the Fremantle Business Awards. The first is the closing date for submissions – across the day the nominees stream in – slightly harried, nervous in anticipation. The second is the closing date for judging. 18 judges representing sponsors and the business community have had two weeks to read, consider and compare. They too stream in to return submissions and scoring sheets – slightly harried but relieved it is done.

The Fremantle Business Awards have always celebrated a multifaceted business community and 2016 is no different. There are businesses that we walk past every day, others that reach out beyond the Fremantle region, and some that reach in to deliver significant services.

Businesses new to the mix include Venta Belgarum Associates, an Ardross based boutique tax, and business advisory service that works across the Fremantle region; documentary maker, Prospero Productions; Photography Project, Growers Green Farmers Market, Fremantle Ports Maritime Day, Common Ground , The Artisan Store Fremantle, Kate & Abel and DADAA.

The nominees for the Outstanding Personal Achievement reads like your average adventurous day out in Fremantle. Having competed and used your Fast Rescue Boat Training (Mark Small, IFAP), your story becomes a show (Philip Mitchell, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre), for which there is an after party (Karl Bullers, The National Hotel Fremantle), the aftermath of which is mopped up by either of two of our local medical leaders ((Dr Jonathan Dalitz, Melville Family Health Centre) and (Dr Catherine Douglass (Ellen Health)). Congratulations to you all.

So it is all done bar the celebration – the third significant day. To find out who will win the BankWest Business of the Year, join us on Friday 10 June at the Southern Cross Ballroom at The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle – by Rydges. There are a limited number of tickets still available, so don’t hesitate if you would like to join the celebrations – click here to purchase your tickets!

PS: Read on for the full list of finalists.


Artitja Fine Art

Common Ground

Ellen Health

Growers Green Farmers Market


The Monk Brewery & Kitchen

The National Hotel Fremantle


Artitja Fine Art

Carbon Business Group

Digit Books

Ellen Health

Engineering Consultants Australia

Francis A Jones


Media on Mars

Perth Security Services


Venta Belgarum Associates 


Carbon Business Group

Photography Project 

Rottnest Express 


EES Shipping Pty Ltd


Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation

MMA Offshore

Rottnest Express


Artist Open House Fremantle

Growers Green Farmers Market

Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub Swim

Fremantle Ports’ Maritime Day 


Artist Open House Fremantle

Artitja Fine Art


Prospero Productions Pty Ltd

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre


Carbon Business Group

Common Ground

Engineering Consultants Australia

Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub Swim

The Artisan Store Fremantle

The Escape Hunt Experience

The Honeycake

The National Hotel Fremantle

Venta Belgarum Associates


Dr Catherine Douglass (Ellen Health)

Dr Jonathan Dalitz (Melville Family Health Centre)

Karl Bullers (The National Hotel Fremantle)

Mark Small (IFAP)

Philip Mitchell (Spare Parts Puppet Theatre)


Common Ground

Fremantle Opals

Kate & Abel


Carnegie Wave Energy

Growers Green Farmers Market

Josh Byrne & Associates

Simply Carbon


Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation

The Escape Hunt Experience