Freo's View

FREO’S ONE PLANET GREEN BUDGET

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, economy, environment, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 25, 2018

 

This will start the tongues wagging of those who are not happy with the ‘Greenies’ running the City of Fremantle. ; >)

This from the city on the budget:

The City of FremantIe is delivering on the One Planet Fremantle strategy through initiatives funded in its 2018-19 annual budget.

The centrepiece of the budget is the allocation of $46.3 million towards the construction of the City’s new administration building and library, as part of the broader Kings Square Renewal project.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the aim was to make the new administration centre one of the most energy efficient buildings of its size in Western Australia.

“Our target is for the new building to be zero carbon, so it will have a sophisticated automated opening façade system designed to capture Fremantle’s famous sea breezes and enable natural ventilation for most of the year.

“It will have high-performance, well shaded windows to minimise heat loss during cooler periods and minimise heat gain in summer.

Other sustainability features will include a 240kw solar PV system, energy-efficient LED lighting and water saving appliances.

Another key sustainability measure in the 2018-19 budget is the allocation of $920,000 to implement the new three bin Food Organic Garden Organic (FOGO) waste management system.

The new FOGO system is a key step towards achieving the City’s One Planet target of a 70 per cent community recycling rate by 2020, and will also protect ratepayers from long-term increases landfill costs.

The budget also includes:

$50,000 to purchase carbon offsets to maintain carbon neutral status
$40,000 to implement the verge garden scheme
$32,784 for a new cardboard and aluminium bailer for the Fremantle Recycling Centre
$14,000 to provide Living Smart sustainability workshops
$10,000 to introduce a local container deposit scheme at three Fremantle Primary Schools
$12,000 to install solar panels on community buildings
$10,000 to implement a car share scheme
$30,000 for works and maintenance in the City of Fremantle Bike Plan
$65,000 to revise the Sir Frederick Samson Park management plan
$102,000 for coastal monitoring and assessment at Port, Leighton and Mosman beaches

For more information on the City’s One Planet strategy visit the One Planet page on our website.

 

Roel Loopers

 

AGEING POPULATION IMPACTS ON ECONOMY

Posted in aged, city of fremantle, economy, health, hospitality, retail, seniors, Uncategorized by freoview on July 23, 2018

 

The media reports that the Western Australian economy has bounced back is positive, but the reasons for the closure of many hospitality outlets and the downturn in retail sales is always only ever explained with internet shopping and the mining bust. Not one expert opinion I have read considers that the fast ageing population is also a reason for people spending less money on non essential items.

Just in Fremantle I know several people whose life has changed since they went on the government pension, because they simply no longer have the money to socialise with friends in pubs and restaurants. Some tell me they can’t even afford to entertain at home, because cooking a meal for friends might cost 50% of the money of their weekly food expenditure.

Many of the pensioners I talk to say they mis no longer going to live theatre plays, concerts and events, because there is not enough money in the kitty, and even going to the hairdresser, especially for women, requires to save it from something else.

A ‘cheap’ $ 20 breakfast or $ 35 dinner in a nice cafe or restaurant are beyond their reach, so they feel on the scrap heap of society, where no one really cares how they are surviving and what their quality of life is.

The government pension does not keep up with the constantly increasing costs of just about everything, but that does not appear to be an issue for our political parties. Once one pays rent, telephone, internet and for the car, there is very little left for food, and hardly ever enough for a meal and glass of wine somewhere nice. Even doctors’ visits need to be kept to a minimum because most GPs don’t bulk bill any more, hence far too many old people use the free service at the emergency departments at our public hospitals.

It is an outrage that many old people live in cold homes in winter because they don’t have enough money to pay for gas and power, and it is an even greater outrage that thousands of people sleep on the streets of our cities.

The very fast ageing of the Australian population is very real, and it does affect the economy, so it is time for our politicians to start preparing for a future where over fifty per cent of the population will be over 60 years old. It is even more tangible and imminent than global warming, so it is time to change the priorities a bit and start looking after our older people a whole lot better.

Roel Loopers

 

Henty's

FREMANTLE BUDGET AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, development, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 29, 2018

 

Fremantle Council has adopted an annual budget it claims to be the single largest local government investment in the city’s history.

The 2018-19 budget, adopted by the council on Wednesday night, included $46.3 million as the City’s contribution towards the broader Kings Square Renewal project, which includes the development of a new library, civic and community centre, upgrade of public spaces by the City and the redevelopment of the former Myer building, Queensgate building and Queensgate carpark by project partner Sirona Capital.

The 2018-19 budget also includes $920,000 for the roll-out of the new FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) waste management system, and $2.8 million to construct the new Fremantle Park Sport and Community Centre.

Residential rates will rise by a modest average of 2.9 per cent, which includes a 2 per cent increase to partly fund the costs of implementing the FOGO system, including the purchase of new FOGO bins.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said  that “It’s a significant achievement that the City has been able to deliver this unprecedented level of investment and keep rate increases low, despite the substantial increases in costs through state government charges like power and water.”

The 2.9 per cent average rate increase is the second lowest since 2000. The lowest was last year’s increase of 1.5 per cent.

Total budget expenditure is $150.1 million, comprised of $57.7 million in capital expenditure, $90.7 million in operating expenditure and $1.7m in loan repayments.

Other budget highlights include:
• $2.5 million road improvement and maintenance program
• $743,000 for more CCTV
• $506,000 to refurbish Cantonment Hill Naval Store
• $250,000 for internal restoration works at the Town Hall
• $110,000 to upgrade the Esplanade Youth Plaza
• $100,000 for further upgrades to South Terrace
• $115,000 on new play equipment
• $25,000 to prepare concept plans for Fremantle Station city square and Queen Street upgrades.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S HEALTHY FINANCIAL RATING

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2018

 

The financial management of the City of Fremantle was strongly criticised by some in our community when it was rated only 42 by the My Council state government website for 2015/16, so for what it is worth, Fremantle has climbed substantially and was rated 87 for the 2016/17 financial year. It was at 79 in 2014/15.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE BID FUTURE IN DOUBT

Posted in advertising, bid, city of fremantle, economy, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on April 11, 2018

 

The FPOL Committee of Fremantle Council will consider tonight the City’s future role in delivering destination marketing also known as the ‘place marketing’ service. Some of the reasons for it are :

The service aims to support the viability of the Fremantle business community by improving awareness of the overall Fremantle offering to visitors, improving perception of the overall Fremantle offering to visitors, and ultimately increasing visitation to Fremantle to provide opportunities for local businesses to capture expenditure.

The service encompasses the marketing of all business-to-customer or population-driven industries including (but not limited to) retail, hospitality, professional services and traditional tourism attractions.

Combining the City’s destination marketing budget with the use of the central area differential rate to enable a greater investment in destination marketing, and

Establishing an ‘arm’s length’ group comprised of a marketing professional as chairperson and key representatives from the business community with appropriate skills or experience in marketing to set the plan for:

the overall strategic marketing approach, including different stages over next four years

how to achieve ongoing business community engagement in marketing activities

appointment of a marketing agency and/or marketing contractors (via a normal City procurement process) to deliver destination marketing services, and

sponsorship of existing and new private events and grass roots business activation projects.

It is recommended that the destination marketing advisory group will operate for a four year period (2018/19 – 2021/22) with agreed terms of reference, and process for nomination and appointment by council. The group would make recommendations to council on matters related to destination marketing. In many ways, comparisons can be made to the way the Design Advisory Committee operates.

The Group will consider the ‘brand values’ and ‘unique selling points’ of Fremantle within the context of increasing competition from competing Perth metropolitan centres, global customer trends, disruptions to major industries such as retail, and the economic development aspirations of Fremantle.

Following organisations that have submitted letters of support: Experience Perth, Tourism Council of Western Australia, Fremantle Chamber of Commerce, Fremantle Prison, Fremantle Tourism Association, Fremantle Accommodation Association, Fremantle Markets, MANY 2.0 and Sirona Capital.

The current recipients of the differential rate, the Fremantle BID and some of its supporters, have submitted letters opposing the proposal. This is an expected and logical position for the BID to take as the recommended model requires discontinuing the BID’s funding after this financial year.

This report does not comprehensively evaluate the performance of the Fremantle BID but does assume that the recommendations in the report will deliver a more effective use of the differential rate money. That assumption is made by comparing the expected outcomes of the officer’s recommendation and the level of business support for it, against the level of support for the Fremantle BID and the outcomes delivered for the approximate $2.2 million in funding provided to the BID since 2012/13 FY.

One of the issues that is not addressed is that the additional differential rates are only paid by businesses who operate in the CBD, while the new destination marketing strategy will be for all of Fremantle, so how will the City make this fair for inner city traders that are paying the extra rates?

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE FINANCIALLY SOUND SAYS MINISTER

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2017

 

I am not a big fan of publishing media releases by Freo City, or anyone else for that matter, but this one about the City of Fremantle’s financial situation is very important, especially during the local government election campaign, where some people claim Freo is going broke because of its investment in the Kings Square Project and selling city assets.

The City of Fremantle has received clarification from the Minister for Local Government over the City’s risk profile.

The City wrote to the Minister, David Templeman, in August after it was identified as being “high risk” in a response to a question in State Parliament.

The City’s risk profile was based on reporting from the 2015/16 financial year, where it recorded an unusually low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score due a number of factors including a change in accounting methodology.

In his reply the Minister said he accepted information from the City’s auditors that, subject to final audit, the City of Fremantle’s 2016/17 FHI score will restore to approximately 85.

For the MyCouncil website and the Department of Local Government’s risk profile an FHI score of 70 and above indicates sound financial health.

The Minister also said he had asked his Department to review the way it communicates its risk profile process to avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

CITY OF FREMANTLE FINANCES SOUND

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, finances, Uncategorized by freoview on August 11, 2017

 

A small article in today’s West Australian reported that David Templeman, the Minister for Local Government, had announced that 15 per cent of, or 22 local councils in W.A. were considered to be high risk by the department.

They include the City of Perth, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie, Exmouth, Derby, Carnarvon, etc. but the article did not go into detail as to why these councils are judged to be high risk.

The claim about Fremantle’s finances has been made before, and rejected by the City, but I thought it would be prudent to ask them for a comment. Here it is:

Today’s page 14 newpaper article in The West Australian: ‘More councils high-risk’ has named the City of Fremantle as being identified by the Department of Local Government as ‘high risk’.

The City assumes it was included in this list due to a one-off low Financial Health Indicator (FHI) score for the 2015/16 financial year. The lower than usual score was caused by a combination of factors including a change in accounting methodology used by the City to simplify the way overhead costs are recorded. This change artificially inflated the year-on-year operating expenditure in 2015/16.

With this anomaly addressed in subsequent budgets, the City’s FHI score will normalise back to its long-term healthy trend when the 2016/17 audit is completed.

In previous reports issued by the Department of Local Government the City of Fremantle has not ever been classified as being in any risk category, let alone a high risk.

The City is independently audited each year and no audit has ever indicated any fundamental issues or problems with the City’s medium or long-term financial viability.

I wonder if it should not be a matter of course for the Department of Local Government to notify local councils of their findings and concerns and offer support to them, and clarify how they reached the findings.

 

Roel Loopers

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KINGS SQUARE GAME CHANGER FOR FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on June 8, 2017

 

 

 

It is only weeks until the Fremantle Kings Square Project will get started and a new website is under construction to keep us up to date, so check out www.kingssquarefremantle.com

I had a chat about the game-changing project with the very straight-forward and open City of Fremantle Director of City Business Glen Dougal who was very positive about Fremantle’s future and said it was exciting for staff to be part of such a progressive city.

“Can we afford Kings Square? Absolutely, yes! Do we have to budget for it? Yes” Dougal said. “At the start we will take a bit of a hit but we will trade out of that without a doubt.” It is an investment into Freo’s future and the CoF will have to cut its costs for a while. The debts will be written off in ten years.

“The Kings Square Project is not going to send us broke, but we’ll have to invest wisely and prioritise projects. We will cut costs in the right spots while still delivering what the community expects of us.” Dougal adamantly said.

All the development under way and already approved development to come will see a significant and structural change in revenue for Fremantle and improve the bottom-line. CoF could not rely on the fluctuating revenue base it had to work with in the past. “Improving the rate base is a very good outcome.”

The operating budget will end up with many more millions that will increase from 8 to 10 million dollars in ten years that can be used for other projects. It will mean we only have to raise rates at CPI.

Borrowing money from state government for longer would also be a better short-term gain, but the state kept charging local governments more for utilities and also loans while demanding they cut costs. “The state government only allows us to borrow on the operating budget.” said Glen Dougal.

All the new businesses and residents will increase revenue for the City and that is good because parking and other revenue has gone down.

The community will be consulted on the ten-year budget plans and a new 165-bay carpark will be built at the Stan Reilley site next to Fremantle Oval by the end of this year.

The vacant site for the Hilton Doubletree hotel at Adelaide Street will also be converted into a carpark untl the SKS group is ready to start building and a 120-bay carpark next to the Fremantle Tennisclub in Parry Street is also on the cards.

Glen Dougal shrugged off criticism that Sirona Capital might one day sell off their Kings Square properties saying that most investment money was off-shore and that foreign investment in Australia had been happening all around. He pointed out the SKS group who will build the Hilton is foreign money, as are many hotel groups.

It is always refreshing to talk with Glen Dougal because he is a no-nonsense operator who does not play games and does not get involved in politics. He is very matter of fact and professional and had nothing to hide. He showed me stats and graphs on the computer he will present to Council. He was very positive about the vision and strategic planning of Fremantle Council and said under the good leadership of Mayor Brad Pettitt all Councillors could shine.

I walked away from my meeting with Glen Dougal feeling confident about Freo’s future. Nothing in life is perfect and there are no doubt issues at the City of Fremantle and things that need to be improved by the administration, but I personally don’t believe Fremantle could afford not to do the Kings Square Project as traders in the city are in desperate need of economic recovery. Many hundreds of new people residing in the CBD and thousands working here will make a huge difference, and so will tourists staying in the new hotels.

Good leadership is about doing more than just the populist things and the Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hill projects are huge for our city, as is all the private investment through development  Council has been encouraging. It will create a vibrant modern east end of Fremantle. One day in the distant future and with the help of the WA government we will also see the South Quay Project go ahead.

I am optimistic about Freo’s future and can’t wait for the official opening of Kings Square in about two years from now!

Roel Loopers

NO FREO PORT AND ROE 8 IN SPENDING CHECK

Posted in economy, finances, fremantle, state government, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on May 15, 2017

I am surprised and disappointed that WA Premier Mark McGowan has not included the cost it has taken to prepare for the sale of Fremantle Ports in the inquiry into the spending of the Barnett Liberal/National government.

A meeting I attended at the Port well over a year ago was told they were spending millions of dollars on lawyers, consultants and experts to make the port ready for privatisation, which will not be going ahead under the new Labor government.

The inquiry announced by the Premier today will be headed by former under treasurer John Langoulant and will investigate 26 projects.

They include: Elizabeth Quay, Perth Stadium and Swan footbridge, land assets sales, Ord River Irrigation Project, Pilbara accommodation, Pilbara underground power project, Ningaloo Centre, Bulgarra sports complex, Wanangkura stadium Port Hedland, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Children’s Hospital, QE II Hospital, Karratha Hospital, St John of God Midland, IT at Department of health, outsourcing of non-clinical services, NurseWest, Muja power station, Synergy billing, Synergy and Western Power contracts, Western Power Woodlands and Vista, Road Safety Commission’s Rugby WA partnership, Buyback Scheme renewable energy, Temporary Personnel Services common use arrangements, Next ICT project.

But not Roe 8 and Fremantle Port and that wonders me a lot. Why were they excluded from the extensive list?

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 11, 2017

 

The City of Fremantle’s Audit and Risk Management Committee this week approved the principles of a draft ten year financial plan (2017-2027) which confirms the City has the ability to deliver its portion of the $270m redevelopment of the Fremantle city centre with CPI-based rate increases and without a need for future sale of income generating assets.

The plan confirms the Kings Square city centre renewal project as central to providing a solid financial base for the City of Fremantle and a strong economic future for Fremantle as a whole.

• Reserves to be reinstated to current levels by 2027
• The ability for all debt to be paid off within 10 years of Kings Square redevelopment
• Demonstrates all of the above can be delivered with CPI rate increases
• Recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle to deliver an estimated $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022
The long-term plan was also developed to deliver balanced annual budgets and restore reserves to current levels (~$20m) within the ten year period of the plan.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position.
“The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle and the revised financial modelling which includes the latest information on Kings Square costs demonstrates this,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

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