Fremantle 2016 Electorate Profile

The inner metropolitan electorate of Fremantle has been an electorate of prosperity and change since 1829, which today has become a prized possession, not only for parliament, but the people who inhabit it.

The electorate division expands far, from North Fremantle to Aubin Grove, with its main attraction remaining the city of Fremantle itself. A city “internationally-renowned” for being one of the “best-preserved Victorian-era port cities in the world” as per the Council’s website.

Inner metropolitans come together in this electorate, prideful in their global status as a top ten tourist destination according to Lonely Planet and united as a community in the face of “threats” to “precious area[s]” of their electorate as explained by the Coordinator of Rethink The Link campaign, Mrs Kim Dravnieks.

The electorate of Fremantle is ever changing. Currently the City of Fremantle is undergoing “biggest transformation since the America’s Cup defence in 1987” Tourist Minister Kim Hames said.

The $1.3 billion spending on a pipeline by both private and public funders is expected by the City Council and the Tourist Minister to attract more retail, residents, tourists and their money.

Although the current tourist influx to the city is bringing an estimated $780 million per annum and supports over 5,000 jobs according to Dr Hames, the State Government’s goal was for a $12 billion price tag on the tourism industry over the next five years.

Projects are already being rolled out to contribute to the city’s new status. With the $600 thousand Fremantle Wayfinding Project designed to “improve people’s experience in navigating their way around the port city” already underway as explained by the Council’s media release.

Regardless of the buzz surrounding the prized possession of the electorate, the Fremantle Electorate as a whole is seeing difficult times in terms of infrastructure, as the electorate experiences discontent from the public over the Perth Freight Link.

The Rethink The Link (RTL) campaign has gained traction as it emphasises the way the scheme has been “imposed on WA from the federal government” Mrs Kim Dravnieks said.

“There had been no consultation with the WA government let alone stakeholders or the community.

“The Perth Freight Link, which would be the most expensive section of road per kilometre ever built in Australia, was not part of any of the key strategic plan[s] for the state.”

When questioned if there was any support forthcoming from the electorate for the campaign, an affirmative “absolutely” was the answer. “A large number of people from all walks of life and situations, including Mayors of 5 Councils and many business owners, have shown their support for the RTL campaign.”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling late last year that the Environmental Protection Authority’s approval of the Link was invalid, four Mayors of the electorate reiterated their support for an alternative many seem to agree on.

“Indian Ocean Gateway represents the optimal, long-term solution to the infrastructure, transport, economic and environmental future” City of Kwinana has written on its proposal.

 “Outer Harbour proposal, which is a Kwinana landside [sic] port, has had bipartisan support for at least 10 years and is the agreed freight solution from all the key stakeholders.” Mrs Dravnieks said.

Mayors from East Fremantle, Fremantle, Cockburn and Kwinana agree that it is the better option of the two. Supported by surrounding areas of Cottesloe and Mosman Park.

The Fremantle Electoral Parliament Member Melissa Parke has called the plan “road insanity” in her speech on her decision not to contest the federal seat. MP Parke for the last nine years has represented Fremantle as a Labor seat. Her victory was due to the Green vote swing to Labor according to University of Notre Dame Senior Lecturer Dr Martin Drum, who also expects that Greens will deliver Labor a victory once again.

The Fremantle Electorate has been a Labor seat described by Dr Drum as “interesting”. Political commentator Peter Kennedy further reiterates so, pointing out Fremantle has been a “Labor seat since 1939” from the time of John Curtin.

The 12 per cent Green vote leads to “interesting dynamics” Dr Drum said. Labor capitalises on it through MP Parke who in her retirement speech said “My commitment to advancing the causes of human rights, animal welfare, the environment, public health and education, science and the arts” is “as strong as ever”

However, with roughly 97,000 voters, the Fremantle seat has always been competitive, being a marginal Labor seat in the last election, with little less than 10 per cent of votes separating the Labor and Liberal candidates.

Issues like the Perth Freight Link and the capitalisation on tourism are influential to the election proceedings, however “we can never say exactly why elections are won or lost” Mr Kennedy said.