City creates tourism appeal by telling the stories of Fremantle

Fremantle’s reputation as a must-visit destination has gone from good to great, with perception survey results confirming the port city’s tourism profile has taken a positive step forward in the past few years.

I want to congratulate the City of Fremantle staff who I know who have worked very hard on this as it would be fair to say that big factor in this is the success of the City of Fremantle’s marketing campaign, Fremantle. Be part of the story which, since its inception in 2014, has redefined how visitors see Freo by promoting little-known and quirky local experiences mixed with the classic tourist attractions Western Australians have grown up with.

According to 1,089 respondents of a recent perceptions survey:

  • 91% strongly agree or agree Fremantle is different to any other place in WA (up 9% from 2013)
  • 87% said they were ‘definitely likely’ or ‘very likely’ to recommend Fremantle as a place to go (up 16%)
  • 84% of people tell others about how great it is to go to Fremantle (up 20%)
  • 92% strongly agree or agree it is easy to find their way around Fremantle (up 8%).

Other key factors in Fremantle’s growing tourism appeal include Fremantle being selected as a 2016 Lonely Planet Top Ten City and the 60 000+ social media following generated by Fremantle story since development in 2014.

In recognition of its efforts to promote Fremantle as a destination, the City of Fremantle was awarded the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards’ 2015 gold medal in the local government category.

Freo has always had its own unique style and tourist attractions like the award winning Fishing Boat Harbour, world heritage listed Fremantle Prison and the Cappuccino Strip are certainly very popular, but there’s also an exciting new interest in the local experience which is not only bringing people into the city centre, but into the outer hotspots of South Fremantle and North Fremantle. The unique mix of heritage charm, quirky cafes and bars and stunning beaches is a great point of difference for Fremantle and something we can build on to continue to strengthen Fremantle’s visitor appeal.

Despite this improving perception, we acknowledge times are tough for retail businesses everywhere and Fremantle businesses are not immune to this. The City will continue to do all it can to help businesses through this challenging economic period, but we believe the future looks bright for Fremantle; with one of the largest developments in our history– the Kings Square Fremantle Renewal, about to begin.

Redeveloping Kings Square will transform the heart of Fremantle into a vibrant community and commercial hub; creating more than 2 100 new local jobs and injecting $358m into the local economy so there’s a lot to look forward to, particularly for local traders

Visit the Fremantle story website

View the Fremantle Place Marketing Plan Review (begins page 7)

Find out more about the Kings Square Fremantle Renewal

Kings Square Update – Local Businesses and Car Parks

I thought it was time for an update on the Kings Square project as there has been a fair bit happening behind the scenes.

As you might have read the builder (Probuild)  for King Square has been appointed  and the project is rapidly getting underway.

Last week representatives from Sirona and City of Fremantle  staff and I went and knocked on the door of the traders around Kings Square (I think we spoke to 41 businesses over the day and we still have a few more to do!) to explain to them the project and timelines for the project.

So what are the timelines for the $270 million dollar project? Roughly speaking fences will likely go up late July or early August with demolition to start soon after on former-Myer and Queensgate. Demolition of the Council  offices and library  will be later in the year with all planned to be completed by mid -2019 .

Perhaps the two key questions that businesses asked of us were: Will the multi-story Queensgate car park stay open and will the surrounding streets stay open.

The short answer to each of these questions is YES. The streets will stay open – unless they are bringing a crane or the like. The car park which will also stay open although there may be minor closures on occasions as it is getting a much needed multi-million make over.

On the car park, the City is currently transferring ownership of the Queensgate car park to Sirona Capital. The car park will now be managed by Secure Parking.  The existing car park conditions will change in coming weeks. Notice of any changes to these conditions will be provided publicly by Secure Parking in advance of these changes taking effect. Visit or call 1300 727 483.

The overwhelming feedback from business owners was that they can’t wait for it to get started and more importantly finish and bring 2100 new jobs to the centre of Fremantle.

If you want to keep on top of what is happening you can subscribe to the e-newsletter via the dedicated Kings Square website

Kings Square Freo attracts eager bids

Two articles in last 24 hours providing a timely update on Kings Square. First in WA Business News

Another article in the West Australian’s Property Section today on progress on the Kings Square Project. It is not online yet but will post link when it is.

Kings Square Freo attracts eager bids by Helen Shield 17.5.17

The developer of the $270 million Kings Square Fremantle revitalisation project, Sirona Capital, has appointed CBRE to advise on unsolicited bids from Australian and offshore institutional investors. And yesterday Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said the developer had appointed top-tier builder Probuild for an August construction start and was focused on delivering, not just for the State Government but for the City of Fremantle.

“We have been approached by a number of Australian and global investors who have expressed an interest,” he told The West Australian. “That’s not surprising given the institutional nature of the assets and the 15-year government lease that’s underpinning the development. So rather than deal with that, we have appointed CBRE to advise on the long-term ownership and funding options.” Mr McNeilly said a sale was not a foregone conclusion and Sirona was committed to delivering the project by mid-2019.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt has said a recent wave of new development, including the Kings Square overhaul — a central plank of the City of Fremantle’s revival — would deliver the City an estimated $5 million a year in future recurring rate revenue. Mr Pettitt said before the Kings Square development there were fears the city was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. However, the council’s financial modelling had shown its contribution — $50 million for a new library, civic and administration building — would be repaid within 10 years.

Mr McNeilly has previously described the Kings Square project as a catalyst for returning Fremantle to a seven-day-a week economy. “It’s an opportunity to transform the rundown CBD area of Fremantle,” he said this week. “In reality this is all about tourism, arts, culture which already exist in Fremantle.”

The WA Government will lease 17,200sqm of the 20,000sqm of office, moving workers from the Housing Authority and departments of Corrective Services and Transport to Fremantle in 2020. The 25,800sqm project includes redeveloping the former Myer building and a new building. Offices will be above a retail and entertainment precinct, including a cinema, and the 800-bay Queensgate carpark will get an overhaul.

Mr Pettitt said committing to the Kings Square project in 2013 had renewed investor confidence and been a big contributor to the “$1.3 billion development boom we now see in Fremantle”. When asked whether the project had one of the longest gestation periods in recent living memory, Mr McNeilly said he liked to recall the Treasury Buildings, a project WA developer Adrian Fini started work on 20 years ago. “Hopefully we are at the beginning of a very long upcycle,” he said.

Probuild WA managing director Sam Delmenico said the company was delighted to work with Sirona to get value driven outcomes in the crucial planning phase.

Fremantle Harbour to welcome its first Asian restaurant

Good article in the West’s property section on new Asian Restaurant in fishing boat harbour adding to a great part of Freo…

Eating out at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour.
Eating out at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour.Picture: Tourism WA

Han’s Cafe will open an outlet at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour — the precinct’s first Asian restaurant — joining Bathers Beach House, Char Char Bull, Kailis Fish Market Cafe, Cicerellos, Little Creatures, Baskin-Robbins and Joe’s Fish Shack.

The Perth-based restaurant chain signed a 10-year lease over 240sqm to open its 13th outlet, which it says will feature its new branding, fit-out and a refreshed menu.

CBRE’s Adrian Morabito, who negotiated the deal, said Han’s Cafe’s arrival in Fremantle diversified the food offering in the boat harbour and illustrated the confidence in the port city’s dining scene.

Fremantle is the State’s most visited tourist destination, Mr Morabito said, adding that an upturn in economic activity was helping its retailers.

“With a pipeline of projects in excess of $1.4 billion, Fremantle is witnessing increased consumer and business confidence, which is further supported by a stronger focus on residential and commercial development,” Mr Morabito said….

for full story see

Fremantle city centre redevelopment to underpin Freo’s economic future

I appreciate that City of Fremantle budgets and finances aren’t the sexiest topic around and the principles of draft ten year financial strategy (2017-2027) accepted by Audit and Risk Management Committee this week is not going to be page-turning reading for everyone. But it actually worth a read.

The strategy makes confirms City of Fremantle finances  are in a strong position going forward.

The plan shows that the City of Fremantle over the next ten years has the ability to complete the Kings Square project, deliver balanced annual budgets, restore reserves to current levels, and to pay off all debt within 10 years of the redevelopment.

Importantly it demonstrates that ALL of above can be delivered with just CPI rate increases!

Not a bad outcome at all I reckon.


This good outcomes is because the recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle is set to steadily climb and deliver an estimated extra $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022

The draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position. The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle.

This year the most important Fremantle capital works program in a generation will commence, delivering 2,000 new workers to Freo and injecting more than $350m into the local economy.

Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

We’ll be prioritising the Kings Square development over the next two financial years and adjusting budgets accordingly, but importantly our long-term plan demonstrates the ability to deliver this project based on CPI-based rate increases

The draft plan will be presented to full council on 24 May.

South Quay Revamp Part of the Cruise Ship Solution

Today The West ran a couple of articles on some potential major issues for the cruise ship industry including this one by Kent Acott:

There’s a huge opportunity to provide an impressive welcome to the 150 000 cruise ship passengers arriving each year in Freo and other ports in Western Australiaand it makes our recent push for South Quay all the more relevant:


Strengthening Economic and Cultural Ties: Padang and Fremantle

I have spent the last couple of days in Sumatra Indonesia, in our friendship city of Padang where are celebrating 20 years of our friendship city relationship.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Indian Ocean Local Government Forum which was attended by around 70 mayors and local Government leaders from the region. I had the honour of the sharing the City of Fremantle’s experience in climate change adaptation in coastal areas.

In addition it was on opportunity to acknowledge and strengthen our 20 year old friendship city relationship between Fremantle and Padang and Mayor Mahyeldi was great to get to know. He was a wonderfully generous and thoughtful leader. It was especially nice of him to make me an honorary citizen of Padang.

The Fremantle delegation included representatives from the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Fremantle Ports, the Indonesia/Australia Business Community, Indonesia language organisations, and the WA State Government. It was a packed itinerary which we hope will yield some tangible results.

It emerged that there are huge opportunities in the economic relationship between Australia and Padang. Indonesia is Australia’s nearest neighbour, a rapidly developing country of over 250 million people (which is largest economy in South-east Asia and the 16th biggest economy in the world)  but our trade with Indonesia is less than it is with New Zealand that has less than 5 million people!

Between Padang and Fremantle there is huge opportunities that go beyond the cultural exchanges that have defined the last 20 years to move into a stronger focus on:

  • reciprocal tourism promotion including sporting events and festivals
  • education including links between Australian universities
  • sustainable low, cost building was a particularly interesting theme to emerge out of the meetings as was supply of material including concrete building panel

The conclusion the delegation came away with is that there is considerable opportunity for Fremantle and West Australia more generally to expand its trade, investment and economic cooperation relationship with Indonesia.

Here are some photos from the trip:

Ario and Leny from the Australia Indonesia Diaspora Business Community along with Ainslie from Fremantle Ports and Olly from the Fremantle Chamber at the Business Forum