Mixed feelings on Australia Day fireworks from Fremantle and Cockburn business leaders

Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce president Tony Romano.
Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce president Tony Romano.

A DECISION by Fremantle Council to abandon its annual Australia Day fireworks display could cost the local economy millions, according to one Fremantle business leader.

However, another south of the port city’s border is sceptical Cockburn would be able to take full financial advantage by hosting the event itself.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams told Community Newspaper Group recently the fireworks were a significant event for Fremantle, dropping more than $2.5 million into the local economy.

“This event was more than just 30 minutes of fireworks; it was a day where families from across the region came to what was once a vibrant centre,” she said.

In a recent report voted down by City of Cockburn councillors, a City officer said that unlike Fremantle there would be “minimal economic benefit” from a Cockburn-hosted cracker show.

Melville Cockburn Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) president Tony Romano said he agreed, “mainly due to the decentralised structure of the business locations and hubs in Cockburn compared to the very centralised business district in Fremantle”.

“I think Fremantle is better placed for such an event as it will attract people not just from Fremantle but also surrounding suburbs and the tourist traffic,” he said.

“The greater concentration of hospitality and entertainment facilities in Fremantle makes it more suited to a fireworks event.”

Mr Romano said that while the MCCC would not be looking to get involved financially, it would support such an event if the City of Cockburn were to commit.He said a fresh report, as called for by councillors after the original was dismissed, could provide more detail about the financial value to the Cockburn economy.

“It all comes back to the costs versus return to economy and general community entertainment value,” he said.