Rarely a Dull Moment – MoU with Chamber of Commerce, Corporate Plan

Welcome back to our regular feature, Rarely a dull moment with Gayle O’Leary, where we report on the highlights of Council’s regular, now fortnightly, meetings. We would have titled the feature Never a dull moment, but didn’t want to overpromise!

It’s a short and sweet one this fortnight, folks.

Halfway through the year and what a big year it has been already! Big ticket items at last night’s Ordinary Council Meeting of City of Fremantle concerned the new MoU between the City and the Chamber of Commerce, extending their current 2021 agreement to 2027, and the new Corporate Plan.


Formed in 1873, the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is the oldest Chamber in Perth Metro and was originally formed to support “shippers, traders, and merchants of the early colony”, according to the Chamber’s website. It now boasts over 320 members with business members employing over 5000 people, and advocates and champions small to local businesses.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce building, Phillimore Street, Fremantle.

The City and the Chamber first adopted an MoU in 2009, establishing a close and informative relationship between local government in Fremantle and local businesses.

Loyal Shipping News readers and listeners may recall our Editor, Michael Barker’s live ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ podcast with Chamber CEO Chrissie Maus in May 2023, which can be revisited right here.

At last night’s meeting, Council resolved to adopt the officer’s recommendation concerning the MoU, and voted to:
1. Approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and the City of Fremantle.
2. Note that the funding agreement outlined within the MoU, will be included for consideration as part of the annual budget process in the relevant financial year.

Cr Lawver moved for the MoU ‘Objectives’ to be amended to help ensure ratepayers benefit from the arrangement, however this was ultimately voted down following rigorous discussion on the role of the Chamber, historic precedent by past MoUs, and concerns that the changes to make events supported by the MoU fully open to the public could disincentivise membership to the Chamber.

Here are the Objectives as adopted:
1. Enhanced collaboration on a range of economic opportunities and strategies to meet the City’s and the Chamber’s shared vision of Fremantle.
2. Explore positive opportunities for the Chamber to fulfil its responsibilities for its members and the wider business community.
3. Engagement of the Chamber by the City in planning, development and economic development processes and strategic matters.
4. Consultation with regard to expenditure that relate to differential, special purpose or special area rates solely levied on the CBD or part thereof.
5. Have the Chamber as a primary point of contact for the City in relation to community business representation.
6. To jointly seek, promote and advocate for major infrastructure projects and event funding for the Fremantle area.
7. To engage the local business sector in revitalisation of the CBD and provide collaboration for future functions/events to alleviate duplication and ensure programs are of a consistent high quality relevant to the business community.

It’s important to note that while the MoU isn’t a legally binding document, it is an “intention of action or commitment” spanning from 2024-2027.

CORPORATE PLAN 2024 – 2028

The Corporate Plan is one of the necessary parts that enable the City of Fremantle to deliver its Strategic Community Plan, which was adopted earlier this year. The City is required under the Local Government Act to prepare one, and provides the roadmap for how the community’s aspirations will be achieved.

As the officer report before last night’s Council meeting puts it:
The Corporate Plan outlines services, projects and activities that are planned for delivery over the next four years. The Corporate Plan will be reviewed annually through the corporate planning and budget process to maintain a continual four year outlook and ensure the City has capacity to deliver on the aspirational outcomes and objectives.

Progress on the Corporate Plan will be reported to Council twice a year with a review conducted every year to ensure it stays true to the Strategic Community Plan.

Mayor Fitzhardinge expressed her admiration and “amazement” at how swiftly the City prepared and finalised the Corporate Plan following the adoption of the Strategic Community Plan. The Mayor added that while it is “not perfect” the Corporate Plan is a step in the right direct in accordance with the integrated planning framework. Deputy Mayor Cr Archibald complimented the “freshness” of the Corporate Plan.

Council unanimously resolved to adopt the Corporate Plan, with the following amendment moved by Cr Williamson-Wong:

Move the following amendments to the ‘Resilient City’ pillar on page 47 of the Corporate Plan (Attachment 1), to;
1. Amend the first dot point under ‘Outcomes’, to read as follows:
• An educated and empowered community that seeks to mitigate the causes and effects of climate change.
2. Include an additional dot point under the ‘Our Services’ heading, as follows:
• To continue investigating the opportunities to support and strengthen our communities’ approach to mitigating the causes and effects of climate change.

Reasons for amendment: The purpose of which is to ensure that we have identified a service that supports the outcome we have committed to in the Strategic Community Plan.


Other matters included consideration of a draft Fossil Fuel Advertising and Sponsorships Council Policy for public advertising, drafted to provide guidance to the City on how it would reject sponsorship and advertising from companies involved in the production of fossil fuels. Opportunities to view and comment on this draft policy will arise soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Council also resolved to extend, until 30 September 2024, its trial Council and Committee meeting schedule trial, being two Ordinary Council meetings per month rather than one and the Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting being held quarterly instead of bimonthly.

FYI, the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2024 – 2027 is currently with Reconciliation Australia awaiting final endorsement and a community information session on truth telling will be held at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Lastly, the City Plan Engagement Working Group advised Council that consultation is going well on the first round of engagement for the draft City Plan concerning the future of Fremantle’s West End, which launched via the MySay platform on Friday 24 May and entails interactive digital mapping.

There you are, short and sharp. Until next fortnight!

PS. For those of you who may enjoy further insights into civic goings-on and pressing matters influencing Fremantle and beyond with a hot bowl of chips and a drink, I sincerely hope you were able to make it to the latest Politics in the Pub held at the Local Hotel in South Fremantle on Tuesday night, discussing the hot topic “Shaping a Much Bigger Freo”. Fun fact, did you know that South Fremantle has double the population density per hectare than the historic West End of Fremantle?! For those who couldn’t make it, more information about these events including recordings, and future ones, can be found here.

Report by Gayle O’Leary


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