One of the greatest opportunities presented to Freo in the last twenty years is the arrival of Notre Dame University in our West End. The University spent millions of dollars giving new life to many of our finest colonial buildings, and Notre Dame students come from around the world, filling our streets with colour, laughter and thoughtful, intelligent people.
Students make terrific staff for local businesses, they drive demand for accommodation, food, fashion and services, and many of them also raise money for charity, and volunteer locally. Having students on the streets actually enhances local safety and security too, because they are very good at ‘passive surveillance’. And with a bit of thoughtful planning we could help to increase the student presence, further driving demand for all that our city has to offer.
In addition to their teaching services, universities can become valuable centres for research that directly benefits local industry and the economy. My objective is to attract more of the universities and the industries that work with them and benefit from them to realise Fremantle’s potential as a knowledge city – to expand Fremantle’s capacity and reputation as an education hub.
I’ll work to attract international language and technical schools, and I’ll be liaising with our universities to open satellite campuses and research facilities in Freo. The Fremantle Hospital site offers a range of opportunities to be explored, including physiotherapy, biomedical science and nursing, and I’ll be looking into uses of the building and which education institutions can make best use of it. I will also do whatever I can to bring more of a TAFE presence back to our city.
Imagine a Fremantle buzzing with research and discovery, where technology businesses thrive, students keep our cafes, shops and service businesses lively, and every part of our community benefits. It won’t be easy to achieve, but if we’re going to succeed at all, need to start with the vision, don’t we?