THE future of the city was in the spotlight last week after Committee for Perth released the Fremantle as a Reconnected City report.
Based on a year’s worth of Future Freo project research, it looked at a number of different areas including population, social and cultural demographics, economics, housing, tourism and employment, comparing the Fremantle of the 1940s to the most recent figures from 2011.
At the launch, members of Fremantle’s business community were given the opportunity to question a panel comprising Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, former Fremantle Chamber of Commerce president Ra Stewart, Committee for Perth’s Marion Fulker and Future Freo steering committee members Adrian Fini and Matthew Tonts.
There was a range of comments fired at the panel, including the need to stop using retail to measure the success of the area, how to attract more investment and criticism of the Fremantle council for not being consistent in its approach to fixing i ssues.
Ms Fulker said Fremantle’s strength as a regional hub has fallen with the emergence of Mandurah, Rockingham and Joondalup, but it was hoped the findings of the report could help the community lift the area back to prosperity.
“You’ve (Fremantle) kind of lost your way,” she said.
“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.
“We never intended for the report to be a prescriptive roadmap that said this is what has to be done, we want it to stimulate debate and discussion among residents, businesses and decision and policy makers.”
Mayor Brad Pettitt said Fremantle needed to move on from the America’s Cup.
“We’re never going to have that moment again,” he said.
“We need to draw on a broader array of strengths.
“The report highlighted Fremantle specialises in areas such as the arts, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and we need to be able to build on these.”
For a copy of the report go here.