Some thoughts on the new greater Fremantle

Now that the dust has settled and celebratory hangovers mellowed I thought it worth digging a little deeper into the amalgamations decision.

The new boundaries are clearly a very good outcome for Fremantle. There was a time when it seemed we would be swallowed up by Melville and a Fremantle Council and unique Fremantle voice would be drowned out in a sea of suburbia.

I believe the reasons we were successful were three fold:

  1. A strong community-led campaign. The Fremantle Forever campaign was a great community effort with everything from concerts to petitions and street art – all done by volunteers and those hard working people deserve a huge pat on the back or alternatively a big group hug from all of us.
  2. A moderate, sensible, evidence based approach to the Freo boundary issue. At the heart of this was demonstrating the Fremantle was committed to substantial population growth, economic investment and keeping Fremantle as Perth’s second city. The pro-development approach whilst controversial for some in the community was undoubtedly important to demonstrating to the local government advisory board and the State Government that Fremantle could be a sustainable local government area by itself into the future.
  3. Fremantle speaking with one clear voice. I was really impressed by how diverse groups from the Fremantle Society to the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce all got behind the joint Fremantle Forever position. Everyone speaking with one voice was essential and shows what Fremantle can do when we collaborate.

It really was a big win on an issue that is so important to Fremantle’s future as  a unique urban centre.

While the boundaries were good there are some other aspects that I am less impressed by.

  1. The failure for the State Government to amalgamate the local government areas that needed it to the most – aka the Western Suburbs. It seems that we might well be left with Perth’s smallest council Peppermint Grove left intact with it 1200-odd residents while far larger councils are forced to merge. It makes you wonder how committed the State Government really is to amalgamating these blue-ribbon liberal councils. I would have thought better to do all the mergers at once and refine the Perth boundaries through legislation down the track when you have parliamentary support.
  2. The loss of wards. This means that local Councillors from diverse corners of greater Fremantle may be lost which is a shame. No wards will also encourage political parties into local government like never before as it will be very expensive to run for a Council seat.
  3. The potential for commissioners to come in and replace Freo Councillors until the next election. Just a Fremantle is getting some good momentum to have this broken with the Council dissolved and commissioners who may not know Fremantle well could be a real loss at this time.

So as a whole this is a good long term outcome for Fremantle and well done to all involved. My concerns lie solely in the implementation of this new greater Fremantle and I sincerely hope it doesn’t slow or undermine the Fremantle renaissance that is finally underway.

Greater Fremantle Final

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to Some thoughts on the new greater Fremantle

  1. blagg60 says:

    The story of Fremantle continues to be dramatic … due to a heroic leadership. Well done Brad and the whole of council.

  2. Emma Anda says:

    So good to know that the City of Fremantle will remain an entity unto its own right, and not be swallowed up and diluted. Thank you to the council and to everyone who put lots of energy and thought into fighting for this.

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