TWO AUSTRALIA DAYS GOOD FOR FREO BUSINESS
I have no issue with people not agreeing with the Australia Day changes Fremantle Council has made but I do object to the Fisheries Minister Joe Francis disrespectfully calling our Elected Members loonies and Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams suggesting on TV that it will have a major negative impact on Fremantle traders.
First of all there will be fireworks, so all the people who only came for the fireworks in previous years (and that was the vast majority) still can enjoy them. The reality is that most of the crowd only came to the Bathers Beach and Esplanade area after 5pm on Australia Day, so after most shops have closed and many West End cafes as well.
The Citizenship ceremony and entertainment on the Esplanade is never very well attended, so that has not attracted big crowds and lots of shoppers to the city.
Anyone who has been to the Freo fireworks and who lives in the West End will have noticed traffic jams everywhere immediately after the fireworks finish as most people go straight home and don’t stay around, so Australia Day was never huge for traders, but only for the take-away Fishing Boat Harbour traders, who will still get a large crowd on Australia Day for the fireworks but will now also get an additional big day of trading two days later when the John Butler concert is on the Esplanade.
Instead of whingeing about the City of Fremantle not doing anything on Australia Day the Fremantle traders should be grateful that there are now two events over two days that will bring additional business for them. Forget the politics and forget the emotional stuff about Australia Day and recognise that this is a better outcome for Fremantle businesses which will now have two busy days.
The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce can not genuinely claim that the City of Fremantle decision is going to be bad for business, as that is not backed up by facts from previous years. Shops in Fremantle never had a great shopping day on Australia Day, but the Fish&Chips traders did. That will not change because they put on fireworks themselves, but they will now also have a big second day of trading during One Day in Fremantle, and surely that is a good thing!