Some friendly advice for Perth’s new Lord Mayor

Here’s a piece I wrote for WA Today on the back of the City of Perth elections and some of the frustrating commentary in the lead up. The mayor and council role often isn’t quite as is portrayed.

There is much mayors can do to make our cities better. They can make areas safer with good lighting and better urban design; they can create spaces for entrepreneurs, creatives and the arts to thrive; they can create great public places for people to linger and for a sense of community to form; they can show leadership in helping our cities reduce their carbon emissions and by creating more sustainable developments.

In fact, a good mayor and council can totally transform how a city performs with the right ideas and investments.

But let’s stop pretending that Basil and the new Perth council can fix problems over which they have limited jurisdiction…

Entries open for Australia’s richest print award

2019 FAC Print Award Winner Rew Hanks with his work Fishing East of Faskrudfjordur

Entries are now open for Australia’s richest printmaking prize – the 2021 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.

The FAC Print Award and exhibition is Australia’s premier showcase of prints and artists’ books and presents the best works from established, emerging and cross-disciplinary artists.

Entries are assessed by a national panel of expert judges, with $16,000 on offer for first prize and $6000 for second prize.

The winning work will be acquired for the City of Fremantle Art Collection, which is the largest municipal collection in WA.

Fremantle Arts Centre Acting Director Marcus Dickson said the print award had a long and proud tradition as Australia’s most prestigious printmaking prize.

“The print award is being presented for the 45th year in 2021, and throughout its history the award has always attracted a wide range of artists at all stages of their careers,” Mr Dickson said.

“Emerging artists experimenting with the boundaries of print are shown alongside master printmakers who excel in very traditional techniques, with equal chance of taking out the top prize of $16,000.

“Many artists enter the award year after year, contributing to an ongoing conversation which tracks trends and developments in print practice nationally.

“Visitors love the FAC Print Award and it’s a firm favourite on the FAC calendar.

“The breadth and quality of prints submitted ensure it’s always a rich and generous exhibition to visit and we’re excited to see its return in 2021.”

Entries in the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award close at 5pm on Friday 4 December, with the winner to be announced at the exhibition opening on Friday 28 May 2021.

The 2021 FAC Print Award exhibition will be open from Saturday 29 May – Sunday 18 July 2021.

For more information visit the FAC Print Award page on the Fremantle Arts Centre website.

Growing a Greener City. Politics in the Pub

Green spaces are an asset to any city.

Tree canopies keep the streets cool, vegetation provides shelter for native fauna, and being within walking distance of parkland is good for the spirit.

So, what would it take to make Fremantle a greener city?
The Fremantle Network and Politics in the Pub invite you to join the discussion on Growing a Greener City next Tuesday the 27th of October.

Come for a drink and a bite in company at the Local Hotel. We start at 7pm and encourage you to arrive early and share in conversation.

 To learn more contact Christian at:

The Other Place: world class theatre in Fremantle

Last weekend I experienced theatre in Fremantle that could only be described as world class.

Victoria Hall on Fremantle’s High Street was buzzing for the opening night of The Other Place, a play by Sharr White that has previously been performed at Broadway.

In Fremantle the star quality was seriously enhanced by the very impressive Kate Walsh. I must admit I have never watched Grey’s Anatomy or The Umbrella Academy but Kate was truly impressive. It’s not a one person show but the show lent heavily on her performance and she was extraordinary.

The Other Place is a story that was both sad and funny and ultimately a beautiful reflection on the fragility of human life and memory.

When the lights came up and the cast got a standing ovation there was not a dry eye in that beautiful heritage hall.

Well done to Renato and the Fremantle Theatre Company he has set up. I know they had the aim of revitalizing the local performing arts scene with truly international standard theatre work and with this first show they have already nailed it.

The Other Place post performance chat
Dugite Bar. Victoria Hall
I can’t act. Just having fun after the show with Renato and Sarah.

Only a few days left to get free parking in Freo

Visitors to Fremantle have until Friday to download the City of Fremantle’s PayStay app and register for an entire month of free parking.

New users who download the PayStay app and use it to park in Fremantle before 5pm on 23 October will receive free parking throughout the month of November when they opt in at

PayStay users can also put themselves in the running to win free parking for a whole year by filling out a simple survey on the City’s website.

The ‘Parking Smartz’ campaign offers a tremendous opportunity for people to park for free in Fremantle.

There are lots of reasons why paid parking is necessary in a place like Fremantle and our rates are actually very reasonable but, just like it has been for other local governments, the issue of paying for parking has been a matter of debate in Fremantle for a long time.

For those people who think parking in Fremantle is too difficult or too expensive, here’s a chance to download and use the PayStay app right now and get free parking for a whole month.

The PayStay app is really easy to use, has lots of handy features and actually saves you money because you only pay for the time you use.

With the weather warming up it’s absolutely gorgeous in Freo right now, and with a whole month of free parking on offer it’s the perfect time to come down, soak up the sun and enjoy everything that makes Fremantle Perth’s favourite entertainment precinct.

The ‘Parking Smartz’ initiative is part of the City of Fremantle’s COVID-19 community and economic recovery efforts.

The free parking for November is only available to new PayStay users, but existing users can still complete the survey and win one of five permits for free parking for a year. 

The free parking is valid in City of Fremantle off-street car parks only and terms and conditions apply. More information can be found at

The PayStay app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play, or by visiting the PayStay website.

It allows users to find and pay for parking via their mobile phone, and only pay for how long they stay, making it easier and cheaper to park.

The app includes a map of all the City’s on-street and off-street parking including information on each car park’s capacity, the parking rate and time limits.

Fremantle has around 5000 parking bays, with around 1000 on-street bays and another 2300 in off-street car parks managed by the City of Fremantle.

Parking options include 30-minute free parking along High Street and Adelaide Street, second-hour free parking at Parry Street, Point Street and the Cappuccino Strip car park and long-term parking at the Beach Street, Point Street and Ellen Street car parks for less than $10 a day.

Fremantle residents can also apply for a residents parking permit which allows them to park for free in on-street parking bays from 3pm until 11am, seven days a week.

For more information on where to park in Fremantle visit the Parking page on our website or watch the watch the Quick Guide to Parking in Freo video.

Fremantle seeking Common Ground

Fremantle Council has thrown its support behind a push to have WA’s second Common Ground facility established in Fremantle.

Common Ground is a proven model of long-term supported housing that was originally developed in the United States to provide housing and support services to people who are homeless.

In December 2019, the state government announced $35 million for the development of two Common Ground facilities in WA.

In July, Community Services Minster Simone McGurk announced Hill Street in East Perth as the location for the first facility, while the second facility would be in a regional or suburban location.

Last month the Department of Communities advised the City of Fremantle had been shortlisted as a location for the second Common Ground facility.

A Common Ground facility would provide a welcome addition to the supply of affordable housing and support services in Fremantle.

There’s no question that there are a lot of people sleeping rough in Fremantle and that this number has increased substantially over the past few months.

The City has already met with the Department of Communities and organisations like Shelter WA and St Pats about this idea and expressed our support for a Common Ground facility of the right size in Fremantle.

We’ve also made the point that there needs to be more than one of these important facilities outside the Perth CBD and we would be willing to work with the state government and service providers to see how we might get the right spread of services.

Ideally having quality services in the communities in which homeless people already live is the way to go, rather than just creating a concentration in one or two areas.

The Common Ground model only succeeds if it’s integrated into the local community. If we are selected for the second facility we will work through a stakeholder engagement process to ensure site suitability and that the development is an asset to the local community.

A Common Ground facility offers affordable apartments and a range of on-site services which provide people with a safe and permanent place to live and the support to manage their home and build a stable and healthy life.

The model is based on the principles of “Housing First” that provides housing as the first response to homelessness together with the support required to maintain a tenancy.

The model provides housing within a development that houses a mix of low income, key worker and formerly homeless tenants.

The Fremantle Council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee this week supported the establishment of a Common Ground facility in Fremantle to deliver a housing first approach and wrap around services to support tenants with complex needs by providing a permanent home.

The committee acknowledged the chronic homelessness in Fremantle, noting the significant increase of people sleeping rough in the past six months, and voted to advocate for well-resourced and funded service provision to address housing and homelessness issues in Fremantle.

The committee also noted the net decrease in public housing which has reduced the number of affordable housing options in Fremantle and authorised the City’s Chief Executive Officer to explore opportunities for discussion on other or shared models, in consultation with state government and the affordable housing sector.

Photo for a Better Bridge – Sunday 9am

The Better Bridge Community Campaign wants to showcase the community effort that’s gotten us this far with our beautiful old traffic bridge as the backdrop.

They’ll have volunteers dressed up as mermaids (and mermen)and banners and signs to capture the enthusiasm of the Better Bridge Community Campaign that you’ve made possible.

Come down, bring the family, and let’s get a snapshot to show how committed Fremantle is to this cause. 

When? Sunday October 18th @ 9am.
Where? Warrill Park near the East Freo Jetty. 

Fremantle Council supports Port Beach sand nourishment project

Sand being spread at Port Beach as part of erosion management works earlier this year. 

A project that would deposit more than 150,000 cubic metres of sand on Fremantle’s Port Beach as part of efforts to tackle coastal erosion has been supported by Fremantle Council.

Port Beach has been subject to a number of severe erosion events in recent years, and last year a state government report put the beach at the top the list of WA’s coastal erosion hotspots.

In August Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti announced $3.25 million would be allocated to the City of Fremantle for a large-scale sand nourishment project at Port Beach.

The project would involve taking approximately 151,000 cubic metres of sand from dredging offshore sources including Fremantle Ports Deepwater Channel and depositing it on the beach.

Last night Fremantle Council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee received a draft report on the detailed investigations into the sand nourishment project and agreed that sand nourishment is the preferred short-term coastal adaptation response for the current extreme risk of coastal erosion at the beach.

The council supported the sand nourishment project provided it was recognised the ongoing management of erosion at Port Beach was a shared responsibility between the state government and the City.

We are very appreciative of the support we’ve received from the government and its various agencies to date in dealing with erosion at Port Beach, and we certainly welcome the funding to deliver this sand nourishment project.

However it must be recognised that it’s not just City of Fremantle assets that are at risk from coastal erosion.  State government agencies like Fremantle Ports and Main Roads also have substantial assets adjacent to Port Beach that are at risk, so protecting those assets is a collective responsibility.

While the City is prepared to take on a role in implementing the sand nourishment project, we will only do so on the basis that the state government and its agencies accept shared responsibility for funding the ongoing monitoring and maintenance required to protect coastal assets.

It also remains the case that managed retreat is the council’s adopted long-term strategy for dealing with coastal erosion, with the ultimate aim of removing coastal assets from the erosion risk zone.

The sand nourishment adaptation option will address the current extreme erosion risk level while allowing time for a longer-term planning process to enable the implementation of a managed retreat strategy that includes the establishment of a broader foreshore reserve to retain a beach and amenities for the community.

This will require a firm commitment from the WA Planning Commission and other state government agencies to start work as soon as possible on the planning changes required to establish the necessary coastal reserves.     

The aim should be to secure the reservation of an expanded foreshore reserve to accommodate managed retreat requirements and allow us to transition out of the sand nourishment regime by 2030 at the latest.”

The sand nourishment process would involve taking sand from offshore sources including Fremantle Port’s dredging of the deep water shipping channel and depositing it on Port Beach.

The detailed investigations into the project revealed the sand in offshore sources is a close match to the size and colour of the sand on Port Beach, and that dredging from the channel isn’t expected to impact on the local wave climate or on the sediment dynamics of surrounding beaches.

The project is still subject to environmental approvals and the method for depositing the sand is currently under detailed investigation. Options include dumping the sand a short distance offshore and letting it wash up onto the beach, pumping it through pipes onto the beach, or “rainbowing” it onto the beach.

After the initial placement of sand, it is estimated that up to 11,000 cubic metres of sand may need to be “backpassed” annually.  The backpassing will likely involve relocation of accreted sand at North Leighton and returning it to Port Beach.

The beach will also be monitored and the project adjusted as required.

What does your local council actually do?

What does your local council actually do? Well Auspol and I got to sat down to discuss what my job is and how local government works. From how local governments get funding, to how they originated, to how their size changes drastically between areas, and more – We dive into everything you need to know about the role and scope of local government.

Fremantle Men’s Community Shed turns 15

The pioneering Fremantle Men’s Community Shed is turning 15 and they are having an open day this weekend to celebrate. Hope to see you there.