Debating Perth’s Density Challenge


These ideas were widely covered by the media.


Limit urban sprawl, says Freo mayor
Perth’s northern suburbs are moving north.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt wants to stop Perth’s urban sprawl by defining its boundary and refusing development beyond it.

Dr Pettitt said Perth should “bite the bullet” and decide how big the metropolitan area could become.

“What are going to be the levers to stop us continuing to sprawl unless we just bite the bullet and say let’s define where is it going to stop,” he told a Perth business function yesterday.

“Until we know and are clear that land on the fringes is finite, we will just keep using it because we have a very big State and we can just keep smearing ourselves across it.

“We have a lot of land already set aside, we’ve got land already to take us to 2050 — my view is that’s it, no more.”

Dr Pettitt argued an urban boundary would support higher land prices, prevent the creation of unsustainable communities and promote infill development, which is about three times as expensive as building on the fringes.

“Knowing there’s a finite level to which we can sprawl gets us to take seriously planning around density,” he said.

“If we don’t do anything differently, we’ll go all the way from Myalup up to Lancelin…because there’s nothing stopping us.”

Planning Department director-general Gail McGowan said Perth had some natural boundaries, including the Darling Scarp and the ocean, but there were problems with imposing a “hard and fast boundary”.

“The work the WA Planning Commission has done is very much predicated on a compact, connected city and not having this continued sprawl because we simply can’t sustain that in terms of servicing,” she said.

There were enough lots to sustain the population into the future without extensive sprawl and she supported initiatives to encourage higher density in the right places.

A compact city made better use of infrastructure but a strict boundary might not be easy to impose because there could be sensible reasons to develop certain places. At present, the metropolitan area went about 150km.

“We think there are better ways to build a city and encourage the sort of urban places that people will want to live in,” Ms McGowan said.

The West Australian


A Lonely Planet Sunrise over the Port City Today

Here are some links to some of the media from the great Lonely Planet Top 10 announcement today.

Well done Freo.

From 7’s Sunrise program

From 9’s Today program 

And From Lonely Planet themselves

Under the baking Western Australian sun, Fremantle is a raffish harbour town with sea-salty soul to burn. Like Valparaiso in Chile or Littleton in New Zealand, old-town ‘Freo’ is a tight nest of streets with a classic cache of Victorian and Edwardian buildings that somehow dodged the wrecking balls of the 1970s. It’s an isolated place – closer to Jakarta than Sydney. But as in any port, the world washes in on the tide and washes out again, leaving the locals buzzing with global zeitgeist. It’s a delicious process, and nowhere in Australia does it better. Fremantle thrums with live-music rooms, hipster bars, boutique hotels, left-field bookshops, craft-beer breweries, Indian Ocean seafood shacks, buskers, beaches and students on the run from the books.

A little context: Fremantle dragged itself out of the economic doldrums in 1987, scrubbing itself up to host the America’s Cup yachting race. Once the yachties left town (the Americans taking the cup with them) the city faced the question of ‘what now?’. A process of reinvention began, with investment in the arts, the establishment of Notre Dame University and the consolidation of the city’s waterfront at the fore. In 2016, Freo is bearing the fruits of this process, with thriving urban culture and a string of awesome arts events celebrating the city’s essence.

Life-changing experience

Beer, students and Fremantle: it’s all very simpatico. But a night spent mooching between the pubs, breweries and bars here is about more than just beer. The Freo vibe is liberated, freewheeling, engaging and infused with good music. Anonymous after dark on this forgotten rim of the planet, if you can’t get a little perspective on life, love and longevity here there’s something wrong. Essential booze rooms: Sail & Anchor, Little Creatures Brewery, Mrs Brown Bar.

Most bizarre sight

Legendary hell-raiser and AC/DC frontman Bon Scott (1946-80) moved to Fremantle with his family in 1956. Bon spent his teen years strutting around Freo, and the city still adores him. Check out his statue down by Fishing Boat Harbour, in classic rock pose (more cock-sure than bizarre). His ashes are interred in Fremantle Cemetery: enter near the corner of High and Carrington Sts – Bon’s plaque is 15m along the path on the left.

Classic restaurant experience

Fishing Boat Harbour is Fremantle’s culinary crux: an arc of seafood eateries tracing the waterline, with something for all budgets. Kailis Fish Market Cafe has been cooking up fresh fish and chips here since 1986. Little Creatures Brewery continues to dazzle with zingy microbrews, hip staff and quick-fire eats in its lofty brew house. The food here is killer: order up a prawn, coriander pesto and shitake pizza, or a fiery chickpea tagine with goat’s milk yoghurt.

Best shopping

Low-budget, spontaneous and surprising, MANY 6160 is a boho mashup of local artists’ studios, pop-up shops and galleries on the ground floor of a defunct department store. A little more predictable are the Fremantle Markets, a hippie haven of craft stalls, buskers, coffee carts and produce vendors.

By Charles Rawlings-Way

Fremantle makes the top 10 list in Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016 .

Today is a day for Freo people to feel proud. While we know we live in an amazing place it was fantastic to read Lonely Planet’s celebration of Freo:

The world washes in and washes out in ‘Freo’, a raffish harbour town in Western Australia that attracts free spirits from far and wide. Visitors come here to enjoy the live-music rooms, hipster bars, boutique hotels and craft-beer breweries alongside the Notre Dame University students who have helped to underpin the process of Fremantle’s reinvention from a town stuck in the economic doldrums to the bustling, artsy, counter-cultural capital you see today.

The world-renowned travel publication went on to describe Fremantle as “a raffish harbour town with sea-salty soul to burn… The Freo vibe is liberated, free-wheeling, engaging and infused with good music.”

Fremantle was the only Australian city on the list and came in number 7 ahead of Manchester (UK), Rome (Italy) and Nashville (USA) as cities that were ‘unmissable’ places to visit in 2016.

The Best in Travel publication is Lonely Planet’s biggest trade publication and has a simple premise: what destinations are going to be hot in the year to come and why?

This is a huge boost for Freo and reflects the ongoing transformation of our historic port city into one of the most vibrant and liveable cities anywhere in the world.

There’ve been a number of new hotels, restaurants and bars coming online in recent years that have really added to the appeal of Fremantle. I’m sure these and the many other exciting projects in the pipeline have contributed to Lonely Planet selecting Freo on this list.

It is also of course about the people who live here and make the place. Thanks for being part of this.

I have no doubt being a Lonely Planet top 10 city will translate into real benefits for the local economy by creating jobs and providing a big boost to the local retail and hospitality industry that is the lifeblood of the city.

 Here is the West’s report on it


About Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’

Each year, Best in Travel’s recommendations are drawn from hundreds of ideas submitted by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and extended community of travellers, bloggers and tweeters. Their suggestions are then refined by a panel of in-house travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor. Lonely Planet’s focus is on the merits of each destination and the unique experiences they offer travellers

One Planet Film Festival – This weekend

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the One Planet Film Festival. As part of the Freo Festival, enjoy a carefully curated selection of incredible feature films and documentaries which touch on the One Planet themes. From incredible children’s experiences to evocative adult cinema offerings – we guarantee you’ll find movies which inspire and challenge. Head to the he University of Notre Dame Drill Hall, Mouat Street in Fremantle and bring your keep cup!

To book your tickets – go to


**Friday, 30 October**

7pm – Racing to Zero (USA, 2014)

  • Introduction from director starts at 6 PM.
  • Red Carpet Launch + Live Music after the film.


**Saturday, 31st October**

10am – The Lorax (USA, 2012) 

12pm – Seeds of Time  (USA, 2013)

2pm  – Small is Beautiful

  • Short talk / Q&A Amy Moffat after the film.

4pm – Bikes vs Cars (Sweden, 2015)

6pm – The Coolbaroo Club (Australia, 1993)

  • Madjitil Moorna choir after at 7pm.

8:30pm – Just Eat It (Canada, 2014)

  • Q&A with Julie Broad from Food Rescue after the film.


**Sunday, 1st November**

10am – Landfill Harmonic (Usa, Paraguay, Norway, Brasil, 2015)

  • Junkadelic Brass Band Kids Instrument Workshop at 9am.

12pm – Invitation to Ruin (WA, Australia, 2015)

  • Short Q&A with Rob Castegliano (Director) & Ross Bolleter after the film

1:30pm – Cowspiracy (USA, 2014)

3:30pm – Thilafushi Gon Dudhoh (Italy, 2013)
3:45pm – Gringo Trails (USA, 2013)

  • Only one ticket for both films.

6pm – Fractured Country (Australia 2014)
7:05pm – Protecting Country from Fracking (Australia 2015)

  • Only one ticket for both films.
  • All proceeds go to CCWA.
  • Short discussion Piers Verstegen CEO CCWA in between.

8:15pm – Wisdom to Survive (USA, 2013) 


Freewheeler for Fremantle – Active & Sustainable Commuting

Another great potential crowd-funding option to come out Freo is the Freewheeler for Fremantle app.

Freewheeler for Fremantle are developing an app that uses GPS and sensors in your smartphone to automatically work out your commutes and different modes of transport.

Whenever you travel in a way that is healthy or environmentally friendly, the app will award you points per kilometre/mile.  For example, walking will get the most points, then cycling, then public transport.

This is a mock-up of the app interface, though the design is going to be changed:

We are arranging a network of local Fremantle (and Perth CBD) businesses where you can go to redeem your points for rewards (eg discounts), creating a like-minded community of people.

The system will eventually be rolled out across Perth (and Australia?) and will also be used to encourage physical activity in schools and workplaces, including fun competitions.

– See more at:



Fremantle has a lot to offer.  Its rich history, food & music culture, quirky characters and open-minded people attract plenty of visitors to the city and make its residents happy to call it home.

Fremantle retailers could still use some help getting more customers in the door.  The Freewheeler pilot aims to bring more visitors to Freo.


Twitter: @FreewheelerApp

Facebook: Freewheeler App


The One Planet matching competition

Freewheeler is one of 4 winners in the innovative City of Fremantle & Startsomegood “One Planet” sustainability competition.  Freewheeler has won a grant of $10,000 from the City of Fremantle to further develop the app and roll out the pilot project.  To get this grant, Freewheeler must first match it by raising another $10,000 from the community, to reach the $20,000 tipping point goal.  If we don’t achieve the goal then we won’t receive any funding. Please get involved and let people know about the campaign.


– See more at:

The best of Freo Festival so far …

We’ve put out a challenge to everyone to see if they can get to at least 3 Fremantle Festival events. Running Until Nov 1.


Comedy for a Serious Cause: Sami Shah: I, MIGRANT and other stories

Another great Freo festival event: A Fair Go For Asylum Seekers are hosting a Fremantle Festival comedy event at the Fremantle Town Hall on October 27th.

Comedian Sami Shah has kindly agreed to donate his performance, Sami Shah: I, MIGRANT and other stories  and $25 from each ticket sold will go directly to the free legal clinic hosted by The Humanitarian Group.



sami shah jpg