Rewarding Fremantle Business – Part 2

Even thinking about this episode of the 2017 Fremantle Business Awards wrap up makes the mouth water. There’s a great deal invested in the hospitality sector across Fremantle and it is a key part of Fremantle’s reputation as a destination.

As a cornerstone of our tourism economy, it makes perfect sense for Rottnest Express to sponsor this years Excellence in Hospitality Award. The connection between Rottnest Island and Fremantle is remarkable and a vital one to a unique visitor experience.

This year The National Hotel took the big gong for hospitality. It is an iconic building but The National is more than just a pub, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a place to meet, be entertained and, of course, eat. The National have also developed an event catering capacity that can bring The National to you. Many experienced The National in action at the 2016 Long Table Dinner on High Street.

The finalists start with Kazoomies delivering unique North African and Middle Eastern fused with Latin cuisine. Winter hours at the E Shed Markets are Friday to Sunday 9am – 3.00pm. Dinners become possible in warmer months.

La Sosta had me a few years ago with the slow cooked lamb ragu (Pappardelle Agnello, Piselli e Tartufo) but it is so much more, serving handmade Italian pasta from their well-kept family recipes. Dinner 7 days, lunch Friday to Sunday.

 Our very own 4.5 star landmark concluded the finalists. In the heart of Fremantle for over 100 years The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle – by Rydges has accommodated generations of visitors to holiday, relax, do business, dine, celebrate and entertain.

In 2017 we were pleased to welcome Konica Minolta on board as a sponsor of the Excellence in Innovation Award. Given the offerings of this international print technology giant, it is a great link. To highlight their print capacity Konica Minolta in-house printed the official 2017 Fremantle Business Awards Program presented to all guests on the night.

The Innovation Award is always exciting because it brings together bold new ventures from different industries and highlights the amazing work underway around Fremantle every day.

Digital studio Viewport Virtual Reality won the day. Specialising in capturing events and locations, creating computer generated imagery and software development, Viewport provides an immersive virtual reality experience suitable for any purpose.

And the finallists were …

Animatronic Engineering is a producer and operator of educational, scientific travelling themed attractions and exhibitions. Think moving, growling dinosaurs and mega fauna and you are in the ball park.

Known for its innovative business model, Artitja Fine Art is committed to value the culture of the indigenous people of Australia. With strong values and principles it has become one of Perth’s most reputable and accessible Indigenous art galleries.

GRD Franmarine is a leading commercial diving operators and their successfully tested Envirocart enables the complete in-water removal, capture and containment of marine bio fouling hulls without damaging the antifouling paint or polluting the surrounding marine environment.

TAMS Group is a diverse marine services company with Innovation at its core. TAMS key success is innovation through diversity, focusing on the development of planning and methods that lead to the delivery of practical solutions.

West Offshore Products are Australia’s experts in the provision of marine safety equipment. The company developed the innovative “Swap-‘n-Go” life raft rental exchange program and prides itself of providing the highest quality safety and inflatable boating solutions.

Take a look at all of them, you never know when they are going to make a difference for you or your business.

Until next weeks Rewarding Fremantle Business – Part 3, the thunderous applause to all continues.


Rewarding Fremantle Business: Part 1

Delivering the Fremantle Business Awards is very much part of year round operations at the Chamber. The event ramps up in the months prior to be all consuming and then, suddenly, it is done and planning for the next starts. So, before the roller coaster for 2018 begins, I think 2017 is worthy of a look back.

Over the next few weeks a series of blogs will drill down behind the scenes of the 2017 Fremantle Business Awards, covering sponsors, winners, and finalists. The order is as it was on the night, so be patient we will get to you.

Up front, we must honour the event sponsors and of course the judges who gave their time pouring across the nominations. Each category has three judges who score the nominations independently and judgment is based on the material featured in the documentation provided by the nominee. The Chamber coordinates and collates the judging process. The nominee who has the highest combined scores from category judges is the winner. The winner of the Business of the Year Award is the nomination with the highest score across all categories.

We will start with the category that was big news at the beginning of the night and at its conclusion. The Corporate Social Responsibility category has long been sponsored by the City of Fremantle to recognise companies that implement policies and projects that positively impact the community and generate long-term benefits.

This category attracts nominations from businesses that support programs across the community and organizations that deliver services. For the first time ever, we had a dead heat for the top spot and City of Fremantle CEO Phil St John announced that Black Swan Health Ltd and Fremantle Foundation had tied for first place.

Black Swan Health Ltd is an independent not-for-profit company delivering high quality, affordable primary and mental health services focused to achieving positive health outcomes for the community. Black Swan delivers around 17 programs but the one you may be most aware of is the iconic mobile medical health service “Freo Street Doctor”.

Fremantle Foundation focuses on creating a thriving community through local giving. The Fremantle Foundation provides ongoing support and advice so donors can have the maximum social impact with their gifts to local charities. Within a number of giving programs, Impact 100 gathers great momentum each year.

This week we held our feedback session with judges and sponsors. No stone goes unturned but the judges all agreed that, no matter how many nominations read, you get to know a whole lot more about the businesses of the Fremantle region. So that you can also find out more, the other finalists in the category were as follows:

We know Spare Parts Puppet Theatre as Australia’s flagship puppetry company and a driving force of the art form within Australia and globally. The Company also connects to a diverse audience across the State through performances and workshops.

Based in the heart of Fremantle, the TAMS Group is a diverse marine service company that supports various local organisations in Fremantle and others closer to their remote sites. Their support ranges from environmental causes to providing assistance to local events and charity foundations.

Terra Rosa Consulting uniquely offers services and advice relating to heritage management, environmental approvals community, social and cultural enterprise. They also provide services in indigenous organisation capacity building and employment opportunities to Aboriginal communities.

In East Fremantle, The Left Bank provides support to the community at every opportunity with partnerships with local clubs, associations, not-for-profits and charities.

It was at the end of the awards presentation that MC Matt Tinney returned to the stage to make a surprise final announcement. Seated at one of the tables, was Seacorp, a long time Fremantle company with a desire to return to the community. The winners of this category inspired the decision by Craig Thomson to dedicate a significant donation to both of the winners. Heart stopping stuff. It’s a great example of the great connection Fremantle business has with its community and, of course, the Chamber is very pleased that new partnerships were triggered on the night.

The Chamber applauds Seacorp for the surprise of the night, the City of Fremantle for their long time sponsorship, Black Swan Health and Fremantle Foundation and all of the finalists.

Coming next …….. Excellence in Hospitality and Excellence in Innovation.

Great Rooftops of Fremantle – Part 1

I never thought I would be on a roof top in the last week of May, marveling at a dramatic sunset behind sparkling lights of Fremantle Port, but there we were. Even the Stirling Bridge looked majestic.

The Tradewinds Hotel opened their doors to members of the Chamber on May 25, to reveal their extensive accommodation renovation to the Sewell Street & Canning Highway property. 

What was once a green slab rooftop has become a floating deck with crafted furniture. With its vista, am I sure it will be booked for weddings for years to come. The nibbles were glorious – crispy roasted beetroot with goats cheese, venison chorizo and polenta, and a crab brioche burger, to name a few.

Understand that it is not a space that you can wander into for a casual beverage. There’s a perfectly good bar and restaurant downstairs for that. The rooftop is for guests and functions only.  

With future guests in mind, we also got to check out one of the studio rooms just off the rooftop terrace. From my empirical testing of a beautifully designed room 219, I reckon it is a rare thing to be able to lie in bed and take in the sunset and Port lights. 

The Tradewinds is one of Fremantle’s (OK, yes it is East Fremantle) iconic hotels and the new investment and renovation is a game changer. Even though it was there all along, it is a great new addition to Fremantle’s tourism accommodation capacity. 

Congratulations to the Prendiville Group.  

Celebrating You!

Every day the lights go on, the doors open and the business day starts. For some the doors stay open longer and for others they never close. Being in business is about passion, risk, personal and financial investment, belief, reward, competition, achievement, (the list of attributes may well be endless so I will stop at this).

With the economy still tumbling around, sometimes you just need a lift. The Fremantle Business Awards celebrate all those who, no matter how tough the environment, open their business doors, put everything on the line and make it happen. The Awards are about recognising the people investing their lives in the Fremantle’s regional economy.

So, no matter how small or how big you are, this is the opportunity to celebrate your business achievement.

With just under a month to go, there is still plenty of time. And it shouldn’t take as much time either. The questions have been refocused and reduced in number. The word count and maximum number of pages have come down.  In terms of time, selling your business for the award is much more affordable.

Assistance is also available at the mentoring session taking place on Tuesday, 11 April at 5.30pm, where you can learn about application techniques from the masters. Click here to register for this session.

If you definitely want your name in lights on the night you may also consider sponsoring one of the few remaining awards.  Also, note in your diary that the $100 entry fee includes one ticket to the Fremantle Business Awards night on Friday, 9 June 2017.  Entry packs can be downloaded by clicking here and you can book your tickets for the Awards night online by clicking here. Thinking of sponsoring? Please contact Zoe Saunders on for further information. Zoe will also be able to assist businesses with any questions relating to applying and/or attending the 2017 Fremantle Business Awards.

We look forward to having you part of this years Fremantle Business Awards.

What’s In It For Us?

There was not a democracy sausage sizzle anywhere in the State that would have predicted the tsunami-like shake up of our Government ranks. It’s done and dusted, people voted and now we wait for the new Government to get on with the business of managing WA.

So what’s on the cards for the Fremantle region. There’s no elephant in the room when it comes to the cancellation of the Freightlink and the sale of Fremantle Port.   Labor campaigned heavily against both and the Roe 8 site works have now stopped. This is a quick action but the proffered solution is also going to take considerable planning and construction time. This means we all must be prepared to last the distance with our own perceived inconveniences (be it trucks, traffic, or road infrastructure).

The Fremantle Port contribution to our State economy is so much more than just counting cruise ships and hoping for a gentrified port precinct in 20 years time. In any day, your life  connects to Fremantle Port. Your vehicle, your flat pack furniture, food, clothing, household and office goods, the materials you use for construction, most often come by boat. For many it is the exports they create or manage for international markets.

None of this stops whilst we await the Outer Harbour. So, for now, it is business as usual but with the promise of favouring the freight by rail, upgrading the existing infrastructure and improving of the road connections from Carrington Street to Stirling Highway.

The South West Group’s recent economic report on the Local Governments from Melville to Rockingham showed an average unemployment rate of 6% and 15.4% youth unemployment. We never think of Fremantle as average and that is reflected in an unemployment rate of 9.7%, just below that of the City of Rockingham. It should be noted that none of these stats include the frustrated underemployed. Where our future jobs come from is really important.

Let’s hope the Local Jobs – Local Content policy, the State Defense Minister and Advisory Council, and the expansion of the Australian Marine Complex as an industry technology park will be a kicker for our marine, engineering and manufacturing sectors and influence a downward spiral of the unemployment rate.

With considerable construction happening within the Fremantle CBD soon, the City is lobbying for more with the redevelopment of Victoria/South Quay. There’ll be some jobs there. Tourism and hospitality are given key sectors for employment development but we also need to make sure that the funds promised to Tourism marketing have an impact in the direction of Fremantle.

Time and time again it is restated that Fremantle is the second most visited place in the State and yet representation of the City continues to be absent from our State’s overarching tourism marketing. It’s time to move on from the project images of unfinished developments in the CBD.

I love the 50’s/60’s glory of Fremantle Passenger Terminal, and have been impressed by the logistics management of maneuvering thousands of people on and off boats. Sadly, it is not an easy connect to the City centre, more so over the next three years with the construction program in the CBD. So whilst we wait through a few years of redevelopment deliberation that avoids costing the Government any money, can we please just pull the wobbly and ugly walk bridge down and insert a pedestrian crossing? It is a short-term win we could all cope with.

Fremantle Hotspotting Again

I glanced across the Chamber blogs of the last four or so years and noticed that we, and others, regularly tag Fremantle as a hotspot. It might be because of a list of development approvals for projects (that may or may not see the light of day), a yearlong tourism public relations opportunity (Lonely Planet 2016) or another festival weekend rolls through town.

But our current hotspotting is for none of the reasons listed above. A poorly handled process by Council in August 2016 has successfully created division within Fremantle and a great feel community event has become muted.

This Thursday the Fishing Boat Harbour Traders and the Fremantle BID step up to present the Australia Day fireworks. It has returned to its roots as the Fremantle Cracker Night and comes with a host of family friendly entertainment spread over the weekend. For more information, click here.

Sadly, there are those that see Fremantle as a protest destination on January 26. They don’t seem to have clicked that the Fireworks are happening. So, to the people that come to protest the position of the City of Fremantle, you need to know that they didn’t want to listen in August and aren’t likely to be there to hear you on Australia Day. Best pick another date when they are going to be around. There is no need to ruin the experience of the families that want to be there.

Everyone is welcome to come to Fremantle on January 26, 27, 28 and 29.

Enjoy the weekend but most of all enjoy the glitter in the sky.

Making the Voice of Business Really Count in 2017

Fremantle is in for a bumper ride in 2017. Demolition/construction commences at the Kings Square site that will one day house a new workforce in Fremantle; a range of celebrations are happening regularly through the year; a highly energetic State election in March and Local Government elections in October.

For the State election, your residency dictates where your vote is placed and counted. But, did you know you can vote in Local Government elections even if your connection is property ownership or business location? That’s right, you don’t have to live in Fremantle, Cockburn, East Fremantle or Melville to be able to vote there. You are eligible to vote if you own or occupy (lease) a premises for at least the next three months (from application).

However, as a business or property owner you are not automatically enrolled to vote in Local Government elections, so you must make a deliberate decision to enrol every two years. There is also a limit to the number of votes allocated per property.

So I start the year with a simple request to the Fremantle business community, download your application, complete the details and send it in. If you are a building owner or occupant click here to download your application. Other general information for Local Government elections can be accessed by clicking here.

2017 is the year to raise the voice of the business community in the election of your local representatives. No matter where you operate your business, you are an important part of the local community and economy.

Welcome to 2017!

Olwyn Williams

Fremantle Lights Up For A Great Christmas

We are at the pointy end of the retail year. You don’t have to get lost braving the hordes and remote carparks of soulless shopping malls. You can do it all in Fremantle! Fremantle is the best fresh air shopping centre in WA, with great bookshops, music, fashion (men & women), jewellery, homewares, food, art & design, renowned restaurants, hotels and cafes.

The Christmas lights in Kings Square are on. The true and the best Santa is in residence in Fremantle from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 3.00pm. Over 40 businesses have dressed their windows for the Festive season, sparkling and bright. Parking Santa and Elves are roaming the streets paying for the parking of shoppers. The first hour of parking is always free at Queensgate, Parry Street and Beach Street.

We have some national chains in the Fremantle CBD with the likes of Target, Mountain Designs, Cotton On, Kathmandu but what sets Fremantle apart is the really exciting independent retail.

Friday to Sunday, the Fremantle Markets and E-Shed Markets add to the retail landscape with an extraordinary range of specialist retailers and between Thursday and Sunday, MANY in Kings Square has a whole raft of local products, retro and start up retailers.

If you looking for sparkle – head to Blue Buddha, Fremantle Opals, The Artisan Store, Creations, Kailis or Found (at the Fremantle Art Centre).

If it is beauteousness you seek, try The Lip Lab, Djurra, Clear Skin Clinic or Clara Beauty.

Home & Lifestyle: The Home Provedore, Stunned Emu Designs, Kate & Abel, Pigeonhole, The Archive and Kitchen Warehouse (O’Connor).

In menswear Warrens, Bousfields, Terrace Men cover off all ages and lifestyles. In women’s wear you should never go past Megan Salmon on Queen Victoria or in the CBD, Morrisons, Spectator, Ami Bel, Creato Amano, Eros, Casa Rialto.

Gender everyone: Margaret River Hemp, 3 Stories, Pigeonhole.

Shoes: Bodkins Bootery, Bobs, Paul Carroll, Mi-Life, KeySol, Hunter, Hype.

For books and music – New Edition, Mills Records, Record Finder, Bill Campbell Books.

Food Retail is almost endless – first begin at Kakulas Sister and Little Sister. Then when you get sick of shopping you can break to have a snack at Culley’s, or something more substantial at Benny’s, Sandrinos, The Monk, Bathers Beach House, Clancy’s, Cha Cha Bull, Little Creatures, Ciccerello’s and so it goes on. True post retail therapy can be found with ride on the Ferris wheel or a swim at Bathers Beach. If all gets too much then take off with Rottnest Express.

May it be a fruitful and enjoyable Christmas for your customers, staff and family!

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