Promises or proof?

Launching the Cappuccino Strip Street Club earlier this year

Launching the Cappuccino Strip Street Club in January this year

Having worked in local government, I know what can actually be delivered and what is an empty election promise. 

I also know how to get things done. I  believe council should facilitate the community’s goal and aspirations rather than hinder them. I succeeded in cutting through the bureaucracy of council in order to achieve great results for the community. I tend to see opportunities and get the right people together to make good things happen. 

This occurred last year when I invited placemaker David Engwicht  to Fremantle, convinced the Council would apply some of his creative ideas for public places if they saw him in action. The result was the formation of the community-led street party known as the “Cappuccino Strip Street Club” (see  CSSC April 2 Herald ) and we developed a creative and practical use to make the dirty dead space in Westgate Mall more safe and pleasant (stay tunned for an announcement very soon…)

In fact, Council thought David was so good, they have invited him back again next month to help work on Kings Square and they wrote me a letter of support inviting more of my ideas!

Little did they know what they were getting themselves in for…

I am currently compiling a place making – or street party – kit made up of couches, flags, costumes, games, toys and a sound system. This will be available for Fremantle’s community groups, neighborhoods and precints to enliven local events (contact me if you have something to donate to the kit!).

I am also working with “Love Freo” to produce a book and iphone app about all the best things about Freo. It’s an insiders guide that will serve as an effective and engaging promotional tool for locals and visitors alike.

Some of my other recent local contributions include:

– Getting federal MPs to team up with the council to bring the Dalai Lama to Fremantle and raise over $20,000 for Tibetan refugees in the process.

– Collaborating with migrant resource networks, humanitarian organisations and activists to hold a community welcome gathering as part of Refugee Week.

– Working with the South West Group to progress the plan for light rail in the Fremantle region.

– Proposing a small bar strategy to help small bars set up in Fremantle – elements of which have been adopted but some have not – this is one of the things I’d like to pursue further on council. 

– Community consultation on the East End redevelopment – I tried to organise a deliberative dialogue to enable the community to share and build consensus on the views and vision for Fremantle’s East End before the rezoning plan was devised (rather than after), however as an individual volunteer, I did not have the time or resources to carry it out – another reason I’d like to be on council.  

Many of my initiatives have become reality. Some did not. There are many more to come. If elected, I see my role would include being an advocate for Fremantle, looking for opportunities and lobying to achieve our collective goals and implement a broader vision for our city.

So after much deliberating about how I could be most effective in the community (and lots of encouragement from others), I was convinced to try to find a place at the decision making table on Council, rather than continue to agitate from the outside. But I won’t go around making election promises I dont know if I can keep.

Instead I will share with you my vision, my values and my experience and you can judge me on my track record. 


4 thoughts on “Promises or proof?

    • Sure. Here is the email with the draft strategy I put to a few of the councillors:

      From: Rachel Pemberton
      To: Greg Lever, Tom Xwray, Andrew Sullivan, Robert Fittock
      Date: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 8:04 PM
      Subject: meeting notes

      Hi Greg, Tom, Andrew and Rob,
      Following on from our great discussion on Wednesday, here are my suggestions for the small bar strategy…

      Approach local members of State Parliament to lobby to:

      1. Change the Act to better reflect the original intent of the legislation and allow multi-purpose (community supported) venues such as Xwray
      2. Special (relaxed) rules for Tourism Precincts – using shopping hours as a precedent
      3. Enforce laws equally on major venues in Fremantle (Metros, Clink, Newport) –not just monitor and fine small venues

      Approach the Council to

      1. encourage more small bars – idea:
      – Economic Development officer (?) to investigate why people are not opening small bars in Freo
      o What steps are required to open a small bar in freo
      o Create an information kit and program to assist people to open small bars in Freo
      o Identify preferred locations for small bars in Freo
      o Actively seek out prospective small bar operator (media / advertising / industry publications and networks / Melbourne and other operators)

      2. clean up the existing Freo nightlife (atmosphere and streets)
      – Formally complain to Liquor Licensing and ask that liquor laws be equally enforced across licensed venues.
      – Monitor cleaning requirements associated with late night venues and enforce a cleaning levy if they can not manage or reduce the litter and filth they cause.

      I’d be happy to help progress this when I get back from holiday, so keep me posted!


  1. Hi Rachel,
    I was interested to hear you had worked in local government. What was your role? And what do you do now?

    • Hi Lauren,
      I was the Public Relations Officer for the City of Perth in 2005 & 2006.

      I was primarily responsible for generating good news about the City of Perth, and worked within Marketing and Events team and closely with the CEO, the Lord Mayor, the and stragety department.

      My job was trying to boost trade for businesses and the perception of the city. During my time there I helped create the City of Perth Winter Arts Festival, revived the Northbridge Festival and worked on huge events like the Australia Day Skyshow.

      I currently work with Senator Scott Ludlam, primarily as a campaigner with some policy and stakeholder work. I have led the campaign for light rail in Perth, pursued a container deposit scheme in Australia, helped keep WA nuclear-free and work on various sustainable city / urban policy issues (housing / transport /planning) .

      Prioir to all this I was working in nmarketing and events in the arts sector – that is my formal educational background and another passion…

      I hope that answers your wquestion – feel free to ask more 🙂

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