Future Freo Report Findings Released
December 2, 2015 3 Comments
As you may have seen in the West’s little-Italy article and on radio and TV news yesterday the Committee for Perth launched its Special Report: Fremantle as a re-connected city.
While the actual report is about far more than Freo as a little Italy here is the article by Kate Emery at The West https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/30234296/call-for-fremantle-to-reinvent-itself-as-wa-s-little-italy/
Fremantle as a re-connected city was an independent report that I thought mapped out both the challenges and opportunities for Fremantle going forward. It revealed that the region is an under-valued treasure that was largely by-passed by the recent mining boom, has a significantly declining economic base and needs to redefine itself to create a long-term sustainable future.
As Committee for Perth CEO, Marion Fulker bluntly puts it “The report reveals that over the past few decades the Greater Fremantle region has struggled to compete for investment, political focus, regional trade and tourism”
The year-long fact-based Future Freo project examined Greater Fremantle’s economic, social, demographic and political character, from before settlement to today. The final report provides 14 key findings. This can be found at www.committeeforperth.com.au/researchfuturefreo.htmls.
Here are some of the findings:
- Fremantle’s population hasn’t kept pace with the Perth and Peel region, increasing by only 8.2% between 2001-2011. The Perth metropolitan area saw a rise of 29.4%. Fremantle’s position within the metropolitan area has also declined because of the rise of new regional centres.
- Fremantle is expensive! There is a critical gap in the housing market for higher density dwellings which will help address the issue of affordability and decrease economic stress
- The retail sector is in serious decline despite being the third largest employer in Greater Fremantle. That said we do have some areas of strength
- Fremantle’s future is in the creative and knowledge based industries. Notre Dame University and the Challenger Institute of Technology have the potential to create the buzz that is important in promoting innovation and growth.
- One of Greater Fremantle’s most significant assets, its Indigenous and ethnic heritage and culture is underplayed as a selling point. One of Fremantle’s most widely recognised characteristics is its ethnic diversity because it was a main entry point for immigrants, this has shaped local cultures, industries and institutions. The report also acknowledges the set of strategies around heritage and culture has the potential to deliver considerable value in terms of the economy, vibrancy and liveability. The Fremantle region has a rich and interesting history, dating back from its strong Indigenous connections, to playing a significant role as a port during the world wars, it was also the first place hundreds of thousands of migrants saw when they arrived in WA and more recently there was the America’s Cup.
Now our job is to take this information and build on the strengths and opportunities it identifies. This will be building on Fremantle’s points of difference and ensuring we grow as a distinctive city.