Stamp duty reduction and infill demonstration projects key to slowing Perth sprawl.

Last week a lot was said and written about WA’s housing slump and how to fix it while encouraging more apartments and infill. It was particularly interesting to see a WA property industry consensus emerge on much of this. As the UDIA’s CEO Tanya Steinbeck wrote:

“More than 80 per cent of the housing stock in Perth is three and four bedroom homes. If we really want to jump on the infill train … we must look at a stamp duty concession for multi-unit dwellings.

Forty-seven per cent of new dwellings in infill locations sounds like a utopia at this point, unless we even the playing field with stamp duty and provide a catalyst to deliver more infill medium and high-density product.

Currently, stamp duty for apartments is payable on the full purchase price, which is in contradiction to new single-dwelling lot sales, where stamp duty is only payable on the land component, not on the home building contract. This means apartment buyers are penalised potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars simply for choosing a more compact product.”

As Ray Haeren from Urbis showed this means that medium density housing Perth is clearly lagging behind targets:

 

Currently an off the plan apartment for $800k would pay $32,316 in stamp duty but an $800k house and land package (in which land made up about half the price) would only pay $12,967 in stamp duty – almost $20k less!

While I share Gareth Parker’s concerns that the wrong kinds of incentives (ie on house and land packages) may only push up housing  prices and encourage sprawl, the right changes to stamp duty could finally mean that Perth starts to address it poor infill record and correspondingly reduce damaging sprawl.

 

Another great suggestion I heard last week was from Prof Geoffrey London who at the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Thought Leaders event called for a medium-high density display village so that people in Perth could see good examples of density done well.

It is sadly true that too much of the new density being built in Perth is not of a great quality. In fact, I would argue that Fremantle is doing some of WA’s best density right now with the developments at WGV, Knutsford and Liv setting a high bar.

But we need more and varied examples and perhaps the Heart of Beaconsfield or next stage of Knutsford would be a good place to do this demonstration village.

Equity Crowdfunding: A new way to support our creative industries and the local economy

There’s been some good discussion on how Fremantle can best support its creative economy on the back of my recent blog on this and the subsequent Fremantle Herald front page.

What is clear is that the renaissance of creative industries in Freo is not something that can be driven by the Fremantle Council alone. It will require joint community, government, council and industry effort.

I was therefore pleased to recently learn about the new equity crowdfunding rules and changes to the Corporations Act that enable the local Fremantle community to not only support the establishment of local businesses but also benefit from their success.

Most people would be familiar with the popular concept of ‘crowdfunding’ through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In this style of crowdfunding companies usually pre-sell a product or service to raise the money needed to get their idea off the ground, complete production or finance the next stage of growth. The product or service is then delivered some time down the track.

Equity crowdfunding is different to this type of crowdfunding in that instead of pre-purchasing a product or service people are purchasing shares in the business and so become part owners – i.e. investors.

The obvious flow on from the new equity crowdfunding rules is that people from all walks of life, and all levels of income and means, can now get behind a local business and share in the success. In addition, if local people back local projects it keeps money in the local economy that keeps more money in our community.

Even though the changes that enabled Pty Ltd companies to raise money via crowd-sourced funding only came into play in the last year several West Australian and Fremantle based businesses have already used it to grow their business.

Some recent success stories include Margaret River’s West Winds Gin who raised $933,000 from 290 investors to grow its domestic and international markets. Freo-based loan management fin-tech Credi successfully raised $250,000 from 133 investors to market and expand the business both locally and internationally.

Tiller Rides, a local Fremantle based start-up, who has created an impressive electric bike designed to get more people riding for everyday transport is currently equity crowdfunding to raise more than $900,000 to fund the setup of their manufacturing facility and expansion of the business. In the first two weeks of the raise more than $560,000 was committed with a strong percentage of investors being from the Freo area. With investment starting at $250, and the ability to get e-bike discounts, they are hoping to see more Freo locals on the final investor list when the round closes on the 3rd of November.

With these kinds of recent local examples, I am hopeful that this new equity crowdfunding will see some more local creatives industries using it to take their business to the next level. It is all going to be part of growing Freo’s creative economy.

 

Perth Festival finale to celebrate Freo rock icon

The climax of the 2020 Perth Festival will be celebration of the life and music of a Fremantle rock ‘n’ roll icon – the late, great AC/DC front man Bon Scott.

Taking inspiration from the AC/DC classic ‘Highway to Hell’ – Canning Highway will be transformed into the world’s longest stage, with a host of local and international artists performing AC/DC songs from stages on the back of semi-trailers in a slow ‘hit parade’ from Applecross to Fremantle.

The show will start at 5pm on 1 March 2020 at Canning Bridge and roll through special activity zones at Tompkins Park and the Leopold Hotel before arriving at the Container Rainbow in Fremantle at 8:30pm.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said Highway to Hell would be an amazing way to honour one of Fremantle’s favourite sons.

“Fremantle is like Mecca for AC/DC fans. People from all over the world make the pilgrimage here to visit Bon’s grave at Fremantle Cemetery and get a photo with the famous statue at Fishing Boat Harbour,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“Highway to Hell will be a fantastic way to end the Perth Festival and the City of Fremantle is excited to be a part of it.

“We’ll have heaps of other AC/DC related activities on in Freo before and after the event, so everyone is welcome to come down to Fremantle and make a weekend of it.

“While this event will be coming from Canning Bridge to Fremantle, we think that when Bon Scott wrote the lyrics for ‘Highway to Hell’ he was referring to the drive from Fremantle along Canning Highway to the Leopold Hotel and the Raffles.

“People are having lots of fun joking about which end of the highway Hell is located, but I’d suggest it’s definitely not Fremantle.”

Perth Festival is presenting Highway to Hell in partnership with the City of Melville, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle and with support of the state government through Lotterywest, Tourism WA and other agencies.

Festival Artistic Director Iain Grandage said Highway to Hell would be a special day for families and fans alike.

“The idea of closing down the highway to celebrate a favourite son is an exciting way to celebrate our city and bring the curtain down on the 2020 Festival,” Mr Grandage said.

“Everyone is invited to walk the route with the trucks, set up a picnic anywhere along the highway or gather at one of the four special activity and entertainment areas.”

More details of the event will be released in coming weeks so local residents, businesses and Festival-goers can plan ahead.

Highway to Hell marks 40 years since the death of Bon Scott, who grew up around Fremantle and went to gigs along Canning Highway as a youth. He died in London on 19 February 1980 and his ashes were laid to rest at Fremantle Cemetery on 1 March.

Perth Festival runs from 7 February to 1 March. The full program will be released on 31 October.

For more information visit perthfestival.com.au.

Big Thanks to the Retiring Fremantle Councillors

I want to extend a big thank you to the three retiring Fremantle councillors. They each brought different things to the table but made important and worthwhile contributions

Dave Hume who as the chair of the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee brought both good humour and insight to the role. Dave did eight years as a Councillor for the Beaconsfield ward and often brought fresh perspectives to debates in the Fremantle Council Chamber.

Jeff McDonald who was Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee was a thoughtful and diligent member of the Council over the last four years. Jeff had really strong links and feel for the needs of the local community and a great eye for detail.

Ingrid Waltham was an East ward Councillor for the past eight years and a wonderful deputy Mayor. I have really appreciated her support in this role and I know the rest of Council very much valued her thoughtful and well considered perspectives.

I and all of the Fremantle Council were very fortunate to have each of these retiring members on the Council and I know they will be missed.

Big thanks to each of you for your service. We wish well and enjoy having your evenings back!

Finally, to everyone out there who hasn’t voted yet you can still drop your ballot down to the Fremantle Town Hall until 6pm tomorrow when they will be counted.

 

Fremantle’s cruise ship season kicks off this weekend

The City of Fremantle’s tourism ambassadors will be out in force on Sunday to provide advice and information to cruise ship passengers.


The City of Fremantle’s Visitor Centre is prepped and ready to welcome the first ship of the new cruise ship season this weekend.

 

The Fremantle cruise ship season kicks off on Sunday with the arrival of 1800 passengers on board  Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess, which is due to arrive at 6:30am and depart at 11pm.

 

Visitor Information Services Team Leader Rosetta Letizia said the City of Fremantle will again be running regular shuttle buses to ferry cruise ship passengers from the Fremantle Passenger Terminal to Kings Square.

 

“The shuttle buses to and from the passenger terminal will be running every 20 minutes between 8am and 6pm,” Ms Letizia said.

 

“The City will also have a small army of helpful tourism ambassadors stationed at the passenger terminal, key locations around the city and roving the streets to provide a friendly welcome, hand out maps and offer tips and information to visitors.

 

“This cruise ship season our Fremantle ambassadors will also be providing an orientation walk to the city centre as alternative to the shuttle bus. Our guided walks will run every half an hour during the morning from 9am.”

 

Princess Cruises announced this year it would have a record-breaking 141-day deployment in Fremantle during the 2019-2020 Australian summer cruising season — the biggest financial commitment ever made to WA by a cruise brand.

 

Fremantle is scheduled to welcome a total of 29 cruise ship arrivals with more than 64,000 passengers for 2019-20 season between October and March.

 

Cruise shipping is an important part of the State’s tourism industry, contributing $275.9 million to the WA economy in 2017-18 and supporting about 1130 jobs.

 

Taking better advantage of Fremantle’s position as a cruise ship port is a key focus of the City of Fremantle’s Destination Marketing Strategic Plan.

 

The City is also represented on the state government’s Victoria Quay Working Group, which was established to drive the redevelopment of Victoria Quay and the land surrounding the passenger terminal and improve the links between Victoria Quay and the Fremantle city centre.

Supporting Freo’s Creative Sector

Tonight at Fremantle Council we will discuss the new  Economic Development Interim Action Plan 2020 – 2022 that has been developed in order to provide a temporary plan for the delivery of city led economic development activities while a new economic development strategy is developed for beyond 2020.

This action plan is to ensure momentum around the City’s current focus on economic development is maintained while a new strategy is developed.

I believe one important element of this is support for Freo’s  creative sector. The creative sector is at the heart of what makes Freo special from the This is Fremantle brand to  what attracts people to Fremantle as an authentic and creative city.

Below is a conversation starter I shared with the Freo Council and would appreciate your feedback on too.

Over the past two economic development strategies we have focussed on – and been successful in – attracting investment, jobs and people back into Fremantle. But these have primarily been centred on attracting mainstream industries and jobs such as state government jobs. In addition to this we have successfully enabled primary mainstream housing options – with the exception of projects like SHAC.

That has provided as strong basic economic foundation for Fremantle but what it doesn’t support, protect or enhance is the diversity of our creative industries, arts community and with this uniqueness of our brand and offering.

Now that we have got these economic fundamentals back on track there needs to be a focus over the next few years on supporting the kinds of economic activity that makes Fremantle unique and special – which is spaces and programs for our creative community to thrive and ways to expand and enhance this creative sector when the above economic resurgence will in all likelihood push up property process and rents.

What do we mean by a creative sector?

Fashion, design, advertising, architecture, publishing, software, film, TV radio, visual arts, performing arts, music, start-ups, etc

In major economies, creative industries make up about 3%-5% of employment but in Fremantle this is likely to be higher.

Furthermore, according to the WA Government, cultural and creative industries are defined as those areas of practice that turn original individual creativity into social and commercial outcomes. https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/culture-and-the-arts/research-hub/creative-industries

What does the creative sector need?

A range of initiatives could support the creative sector. This could include:

  • Affordable places to work, create and exhibit. This includes co-working spaces, affordable exhibition and performance spaces.
  • Affordable places to live nearby to Fremantle
  • Programs to support the sector realise its potential

What would the Economic Development Action Plan do on this basis?

  • A possible first step would be to do an audit of the creative spaces and identification of gaps and plan for investment in new spaces.
  • This would map existing creative spaces around Fremantle and include makers studios, start up spaces, share office space performance and event spaces

What is working in Fremantle?

  • MANY and Spacemarket in Fremantle – from MANY’s interim uses of Myer, the old police station, Quarry Street and now Victoria Hall,
  • Co-working spaces in Fremantle like Stackwood and fSpace  which ”is a cool mix of creatives and professionals from all industries – start-ups, finance guys, internet heroes, creators …”
  • Private art spaces such as PSAS
  • State Government spaces like Artsource
  • City of Fremantle spaces such as Moores and FAC
  • The architecture and design sector in Fremantle that punches above its weight.
  • Arts based retail like The Artisan Shop, Common Ground, and even Freo Markets.
  • Innovative residential arts spaces with studios at SHAC, WGV.

Where is there potential that is not yet been realised?

  • The Fremantle Industrial Arts Quarter has the potential to be an exciting place for start- ups and creatives that we can see emerging with Blinco-Creative, Fremantle Fibonacci Centre, Penny Lanes Music, Stackwood, and Blazing Swan. This unique area needs nurturing.
  • Arthurs Head Arts Precinct which has never quite worked as a precinct despite some individual high achievers like Glen Cowans photography, Greg James sculpture, David Giles Studio 11 and others.
  • Makers studios inside FOMO and the unique retail offering this promises to be.

What more can the City of Fremantle do?

  • Develop a clear strategy to support and protect the creative industries that we have and that identifies the opportunities we have to grow them.
  • Learn from best practice of other jurisdictions like Perth and Nottingham https://www.creativequarter.com/
  • This will include long term spaces in addition to the pop-ups that have been offer so far as well as programs that support key part of the creative sector.

Please keep dogs off Stevens Reserve cricket wickets

 

The Fremantle District Cricket Club has issued a plea to dog owners to keep their pets off the wickets at Stevens Reserve.

As well as being home to one of WA’s oldest cricket clubs, Stevens Reserve is also a popular dog exercise area.

Cricket Club President Dave Davenport said they were happy to share the reserve with dogs but needed their owners to keep them off the wickets.

“Our wickets rival the WACA ground as some of the best in WA and our curator puts hours of work into making sure they’re in perfect condition,” Mr Davenport said.

“A lot of people might not realise that to prepare a cricket pitch the clay is actually quite soft, so if a dog runs over the pitch it doesn’t take much to dig it up.

“There was an unfortunate incident at the start of the season where dogs had been running across the covers we put over the wickets to protect them from the rain.

“The dogs’ claws ripped small holes in the covers which let the water through onto the pitch and meant we had to call the game off until we could dry it out.

“We’ve also had situations during breaks on match days where we’ve had to keep someone out on the field to protect the wicket and stop dogs running onto it.

“We recognise people love their dogs and that Stevens Reserve is a great place for them to have a run around, but we’re just asking people to help us out by keeping their dogs off the wickets.”

As a designated dog exercise area dogs are allowed off leash at Stevens Reserve most of the time, however dogs are required to be on a leash whenever there is a game or training taking place.

Dogs are also prohibited from the two centre wickets and the practice nets at all times.

For more information about dog exercise areas in Fremantle visit the Dog Zones page on the City of Fremantle website.