Freo's View



olwyn willams


The position for a new CEO for the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is advertised on SEEK, so that means that the vivacious Olwyn Williams will be leaving the Freo Chamber.

Williams took over from Tim Milsom three or four years ago and was a very strong voice for Fremantle’s traders.

From the website:

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce (FCC) is focused on economic development across the Fremantle region and its purpose is to build, support and sustain strong business activity and growth. As an advocate for business, FCC has been part of the fabric of Fremantle for well over a century and is committed to its future.

Fremantle has an eclectic mix of economic sectors including one of the Western Australia’s major tourism destinations, main street retail and commercial centre, a key hub for port, marine, trade and logistics, a university town, an innovative industrial zone and a centre of creative economies.

A strong and robust business sector is a conduit to develop Fremantle’s economy and workforce and grow its community

About the role

The Chief Executive Officer is to promote the Chamber as a recognised voice and forum for business opinion on matters affecting the retail, tourism, commercial and industrial base of the City of Fremantle.

Key Responsibilities include but not limited to:


Making Fremantle the place for business and include representing the business community to influential stakeholders.

Leading the region’s business community by promoting a robust environment and enhancing economic activity throughout the Fremantle region.

Identify new avenues for future economic growth.

Prepare a strategy on how to deliver the Greater Fremantle Action Plan (GFAP) with key stakeholders.

Sustainability & business growth:

Strengthen FCC’s three business revenue streams, namely membership, building management and export documentation.

Prepare a comprehensive business development strategy which connects all three revenue streams.

Business operations & finance:

Responsible for the finance performance of the organisation.

Prepare annual budgets, monitor and control expenditure.

In association with the FCC Book Keeper and Treasurer ensure that accurate financial reports are submitted, on time, monthly to the FCC Board.




chamber function


Future Freo chairman Adrian Fini launched the Greater Fremantle Action Plan by the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce in the Australia II gallery of the Maritime Museum on Thursday evening, in front of Minister Simone McGurk, Mayor Brad Pettitt and several councillors and CoF staff, as well as representatives from Notre Dame University, Fremantle Port, Silverleaf Investments and business leaders.

The 28-page Action Plan is well worth reading and I assume the Chamber will put it on line, as it is too substantial to address every item in it here on the blog.

FCOC chair Ivan Dzeba said that Fremantle is already a great place but it can be better, while Adrian Fini said that we do need change and will fall apart if we don’t move forward.

We need to ask ourselves what is Fremantle’s strength and cultural identity, and we have great opportunities which need great leadership, but growth in technology will take shoppers away, but Fremantle has unique offerings that other shopping precincts do not have.

There is a deep journey ahead that demand teamwork with council, businesses and the community working together, Fini said.

The Greater Fremantle Action Plan records Freo’s strengths as having:

  • Dynamic economy particularly in transport and related industries, the arts and receational services, accommodation, food and health care
  • A unique profile consisting of heritage strength and character
  • Fremantle Port remains Fremantle’s most important industry
  • Fremantle has a unique combination of the knowledge economy and creative industries
  • Health services and related sectors continue to play an important role despite the downsizing of Fremantle Hospital
  • Fremantle has a global reputation as a tourist destination


So what are the plans for action?


Create the Conditions

  • Business attraction plan
  • Destination marketing campaign
  • Develop financial incentives
  • Policy and regulation review
  • Complete structure plan
  • Develop infrastructure to support a cultural plan

Connecting People, Places & Markets

  • Planning for affordable housing
  • Improvements to urban realm in commercial areas
  • Improvements to public transport
  • Sophisticated city centre parking plan
  • Connected cycle path network
  • Improvements to regional connections
  • Improvements to visitor booths and wayfinding
  • Improvements to pedestrian access

Promoting our Place

  • Broader and more unified approach to marketing
  • Develop relevant Fremantle ‘apps’
  • Unique brand development
  • Expand toursim accommodation
  • Explore new tourism opportunities
  • Grow conference/events industry


Roel Loopers






Freo Now-BID


FREMANTLE BID-Business Improvement District, abandoned by the City of Fremantle to make way for Destination Marketing, has reinvented itself as FREO NOW, as I reported a few days ago.

FREO NOW will be reliant on Member contribution as it no longer received the differential rates the City of Fremantle charges CBD businesses.

BID members are offered a 50% discount. For just $ 2 per week, or $ 100 a year Freo Now will continue to support local traders, advocate the City on their behalf, organise events and training, etc. This offer is available to every business in Fremantle, not just those in the CBD and former BID area.

Former Fremantle Councillor Rob Fittock will be the interim volunteer CEO of the new Freo Now during this transition period, and he will provide support and help. He aims to visit all the traders, but if you need urgent support you can call Rob on 0431 562 887.

Roel Loopers






Posted in business, city of fremantle, local government, retail,, Uncategorized by freoview on May 29, 2018


I am not sure at all why Fremantle Council is wasting officers’ time to investigate higher(penalty) rates for long time vacant street level retail spaces, when other councils have already done so, but their plans were rejected by the State Administrative Tribunal.

Blaming ‘greedy’ landlords for empty retail spaces is ignoring the global downturn in retail and online shopping becoming more popular.

It is even more flabbergasting that Fremantle Council has instructed the administration to investigate penalty rates in a time where traffic and parking in the CBD is impacted by the Kings Square redevelopment and more shops have closed in William Street and the Fremantle Mall because of that.

It is pie in the sky thinking that temporary pop ups by amateurs who don’t have the money to invest in a long time sustainable business is a solution for the retail problems Fremantle and the rest of Australia has.

Many traders in Fremantle have closed after only 6-12 months of trading because they did not do any research on the viability of their business in the locations they opened up shop. A cafe in Phillimore Street that took over from another unsuccessful cafe only lasted three months, which shows the naivety and lack of financial backing of some who start a new business.

Don’t waste officers’ time Fremantle Council!

Roel Loopers



Posted in business, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on October 14, 2017



Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt last night opened the new office of business incubator Business Station at 21A Pakenham Street.

The office will have hot desks, co-working space and a meeting room and is ideal for small businesses and visiting business people who require short-term office space.

Business Station is an independent not-for-profit organisation that already has offices in Subiaco, Joondalup, Welshpool and Gosnells.

For more information see or email


Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!



Posted in bid, business, city of fremantle, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on April 13, 2017

The Fremantle Business Improvement District-BID will be extended by another three years, but subject to yearly performance criteria.

The City of Fremantle charges CBD businesses an additional differential ‘city centre commercial rate’ and BID will receive $ 356,394.00 for the next financial year to promote and assist inner city traders.

I believe the real issue for BID is to get substantial additional funding because nearly two-third of the money they receive from Fremantle City goes to paying staff, office rent and outgoings, so not much is left to support our traders.

It will have to be seen if private operators are willing to back BID with additional funding, because if not the future of BID is going to be shaky.

Roel Loopers



Posted in bid, business, chamber of commerce, city of fremantle by freoview on January 26, 2017

I hear there will be fantastic news for the Fremantle business community when the former CEO of the Chamber of Commerce will be signed up as the new CEO of the Fremantle BID-Business Improvement District.

Unlike other FCoC heads the ever-smiling Milsom hardly ever complained about Fremantle council but with his can do attitude proactively initiated events to the benefit of everyone in Freo.

I fondly remember when Milsom suggested to have an Indonesian show at the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Market and he found out on the Saturday morning that the musicians had arrived but without instruments. No worries for Milsom who borrowed, begged and hired the instruments required and the evening was a great success.

That is the kind of positive problem solving attitude that Fremantle needs, so welcome back Tim. I am delighted!

Roel Loopers


Posted in bid, business, city of fremantle, retail by freoview on November 10, 2016

The Fremantle BID, Business Improvement Business group lives another day thanks to a lifeline given to it with an amendment by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin that stopped the outright ‘Officer’s recommendation’ rejection of BID’s application to renew it’s contract with the City of Fremantle for another five years.

The consensus among the FPOL Committee on Wednesday was that BID can survive if there is a stronger collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and CoF and if Council gives BID more focussed directions on what its role is and what is expected of the group.

There were also strong expectations for BID to become more autonomous financially and not solely rely on funding from the City. Councillors expressed they wanted BID to find alternative financial support.

BID’s plans were considered too widespread and lacked focus, but a positive is that the group has attracted nearly 400 members out of an estimated eligible 600 businesses in the CBD, which was seen as an indication that BID has the support of the business community.

Roel Loopers



Posted in business, city of fremantle, fremantle, retail by freoview on October 23, 2016

I always enjoy the FREMANTLE NETWORK events as one learns about new initiatives in Fremantle, meets new people and can share ideas.

I am happy FN appears to agree with the suggestion I made last month to include more business and older people as speakers and not prioritise young people with new ideas.

This Monday October 24 at 6 pm upstairs at the National Hotel the Fremantle Network presents Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams, Fremantle Markets CEO Natascha Atkinson, Kate Hulett of Many 6160 and Karl Bullers of the National Hotel, so it could be an interesting event.

The discussion will centre on the current challenges and opportunities for business in Fremantle. Each of the panelists will be asked what their vision for Fremantle is, and how the community can help make it a reality.

“The Fremantle Network is a community based forum for discussion on Fremantle issues, providing a much needed opportunity for “inclusive networking”.

Through open discussion of issues and constructive community engagement, we believe that creative solutions can be found to improve our lives here in Fremantle.”

Roel Loopers



Posted in business, fremantle, perth, west australian by freoview on November 11, 2015

Articles in the West Australian today made me contemplate to what extend corporate responsibility should go. The argument-and hope-that private investors could finance lightrail in Perth because it would be good for their workers and hence the bottom line is an interesting one and has some merit. Staff that needs to travel less to and from work will be happier and healthier and would probably be a more productive workforce so that should be good for the employers. I read though that there is little demand for office space in the suburbs and that indicates to me that employers don’t get it or don’t care about the big picture.

Decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD and the creation of so-called satellite cities should be a priority for our State Government and large employers because traffic congestion is affecting the productivity and bottom line of businesses.

Fremantle is desperate for economic recovery and revitalisation but it has been near impossible to get commitment from the State and larger corporations to move staff to Freo. Sirona Capital is hamstrung with the Kings Square development because no one wants to commit to moving to Fremantle, and even substantial residential and hotel development alone will not be enough to make Fremantle the state’s second city again. We need more office workers in Fremantle and more medium to large retailers to make the port city vibrant again.

There are huge development plans for the Coogee coast just south of Fremantle and somehow our retailers need to be able to tap into that potential and that requires better public transport along that southern corridor, ideally in the form of lightrail. It should also encourage businesses to open offices in Freo, close to where the workforce lives, but that has not been forthcoming and I wonder why that is.

Is it more prestigious for companies to have offices in big towers in Perth than four floors in a Fremantle low to medium rise, and is the corporate image more important than looking after one’s employees and the general community?

The urban sprawl in Perth cannot be allowed to continue because long commuting to work  is bad for personal health, bad for traffic and bad for the environment, and it costs money so it is bad for the bottom line. It is time for big businesses to make a move to the satellites of the metro area and for quite a few of them to make the move to Fremantle, so their workers can enjoy the unique lifestyle of our city. Procrastinating in the Perth CBD and complaining about congestion and public transport is not helpful or being part of the solution. Change is required! Make the move to Freo!!

Roel Loopers

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