The Australia Day Conversation Gets a Push from Local Governments Around the Nation

There was an interesting and unexpected development in the discussion around the date of Australia Day today. The often conservative Australia Local Government Association National Conference narrowly voted to support looking at changing the date.

It is good to see that this conversation is continuing around the nation. There is a long way to go before there is wider change but from little and local things, big national things grow.

Here is how the Guardian reported it:

Local councils across country push for Australia Day date change

Representatives from councils back plan to consider ideas on ways to lobby federal government to switch date from 26 January

Scenes from an Invasion Day protest in Melbourne,
Thousands of Indigenous Australians and their supporters marked 26 January this year by calling for the date of Australia Day to be changed. Photograph: Jacqueline Le/AAP

Representatives from local councils across Australia have backed a plan to come up with ideas on ways to lobby the commonwealth to switch Australia Day from 26 January, a date that marks the arrival of the first fleet from England.

The Australian Local Government Association said its board would consider what action to take at a meeting in July.

“The ALGA board noted the level of debate and the closeness of the result of the debate and will take these matters into consideration when determining a course of action,” the association said in a statement.

In a close 64-62 vote on Tuesday, council representatives at the annual National General Assembly of the ALGA in Canberra voted to back a motion by Hobart city council for councils to consider efforts they could take to lobby the government for a date change.

The vote came ahead of a planned address by the Australia Day Council chairman, Ben Roberts-Smith, to delegates on the final day of the assembly on Wednesday.

Hobart city council has been at the forefront of growing calls for Australia Day to be changed from 26 January, a date many Indigenous people regard as “Invasion Day”.

Hobart’s councillors in April voted in favour of lobbying the federal government to find a new date and said they would consult with the local Aboriginal community to find an alternative date.

Across the country in Perth, the City of Fremantle moved some of its Australia Day events to 28 January this year, citing cultural sensitivities and calls from local Aboriginal elders that 26 January was not a day to celebrate.

However the growing calls for change could face stiff opposition by federal politicians.

The Greens senator Rachel Siewert failed in her bid in February to get the Senate to support a date change, with Liberal, Labor and crossbench senators voting against a motion acknowledging 26 January as a day of mourning for many Indigenous people as it represented the start of colonisation.

Thousands of Indigenous Australians and their supporters marked Australia Day this year by marching in protests in major cities, calling for the date to be changed.

The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said that while everyone is entitled to debate the date of Australia Day, the government does not support a change.

Noongar Music Tribute Concert at The Fly Tonight

The City of Fremantle is supporting this special concert at the Fly tonight.

This one-of-a-kind event is in tribute to one of Noongar boodja’s most revered performers, Jason Bartlett.

Jason, through his work with The Bartlett Brothers, has inspired musicians from Fremantle to Far North Queensland of all races, nationalities and creed. Jason sadly has been ill for some time and this tribute concert will be held in Fremantle shortly before his life support systems will be shut down.

Along with Phil Walley-Stack, this very special performance will include:

  • Western Australian of the Year winner Gina Williams with the acclaimed Guy Ghouse
  • Phil Bartlett and the Bartlett Brothers
  • The Yabu Band (Their version of We Are Australian, we believe should be the national anthem…if you haven’t yet heard it, you can hear it here)
  • The Merindas
  • Hot Likwid
  • Johnny Ford and the Balga Boys
  • Julius Lutero Band
  • Lee West and Zain Laundehr

This unique one-off event features a Who’s Who of local Noongar talent and will be broadcast live across the Noongar Radio region and then in a special encore performance, be repeated on 100.9FM Noongar Radio and nationally across Australia.

The Heart of Beaconsfield Update: There’s still a few more days to share your ideas!

Thank you to everyone who came together at the community visioning workshop last month to share their views on objectives for the Heart of Beaconsfield master plan. We’ve also received lots of comments online and at consultation events held at Davis Park and the Growers Green Farmers Market. We’re currently in the process of collating your comments and will share the outcomes with you soon.

With only a few more days until phase one community engagement finishes, now is an important time to share your ideas ideas for the Heart of Beaconsfield’s renewal.

What’s your vision?

If you missed the consultation events (or if you did attend and have since had further thoughts), we’re keen to hear your responses  to the draft objectives for the master plan by 26 June.

The objectives have been developed around the themes of sense of place and community, housing for everyone, diverse land uses, streets and open space, getting around and building forms, sustainability and innovation.

We would also love you to send us  images of your ideas for the Heart of Beaconsfield renewal, which you can upload through the survey on My Say Freo. Below are some of the images we’ve received so far. If your ideas aren’t included here, please upload images so we can share them in the next phase of engagement

Coming up…

Options for a draft master plan will be released in a few months, with phase two community engagement planned for August 2017.

Suscribe for Heart of Beaconsfield updates on My Say Freo

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

A Self-Guided Bike Tour of Freo’s Alternative History: “Demolished and Unbuilt”

Over the last couple of weekends as part of the Fremantle Heritage Festival I ran a free alternative history bike tour called “Demolished and Unbuilt”. It was lots of fun but I know many of you missed out as it was fully subscribed.

So I thought I would post the tour so that you can take you and your mates on a ride through Freo’s alternative futures if you are so inclined. It starts at the Rainbow and finishes at the Norfolk. Enjoy!

The Freo Alternative on more Diverse and Affordable Housing Moves Forward.

The Freo Alternative has reached an important milestone. Tonight at the Planning Committee we debated and passed the draft scheme amendment and local planning policy for small infill housing. This is the first step in the process for the next phase of community engagement.

The amendment seeks to balance the need for greater housing diversity in Fremantle’s suburbs with ensuring the right type of new development within these areas. Themes which emerged in the first phase of engagement have been incorporated into the draft amendment and areas for further consideration have been been identified for the next phase of engagement. This includes the areas within the City of Fremantle where the policy would apply, the maximum size and number of dwellings on a development site and mandating higher than standard sustainability requirements.

You can view the draft amendment and local planning policy on the council agendas and minutes page. You’re also welcome to attend the Planning Committee or Council meeting to ask a question, make a statement or simply observe. Find out how to get to the meeting and register for question time here.

If adopted by council, it will enable the City of Fremantle to request approval from the West Australian Planning Commission to advertise the draft policy for public comment.

We’ll update you on the next steps for the project when the outcome of this decision is known.