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02-01-08

SAD DAY FOR FREMANTLE



A Fremantle Motor Museum Media Release



Today is a sad day for Fremantle.  Almost five years to the day after the Fremantle Motor Museum opened its doors at B-Shed on Victoria Quay, the Museum’s owner Peter Briggs was advised this afternoon that the Fremantle Port Authority will terminate its lease on 31st March 2008.
 
The Museum will remain open for the Summer School Holidays and encourages everyone to come and enjoy one of the world’s finest private collections of motor cars.
 
Mr Briggs said that while he has lost millions of dollars establishing the Museum, the biggest losers will be the WA community, the people of Fremantle and the tourism industry.
 
“I feel a great deal of sadness for the many staff and volunteers of the museum who have worked tirelessly for five years to make the Museum a tourism award-winning attraction,” he said.
 
The Fremantle Port Authority has behaved in a manner which lacks wisdom and I believe it is time that the State Government took a very close look at whether the Port Authority acts in the best interests of the Western Australian community.”
 
“For many weeks I have been seeking a meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning to discuss the possibility of moving into the Slip Street Workshops or A-Shed which is currently underutilised by the WA Maritime Museum.
 
“I think that it is time for the Government to look at the community benefits which museum’s bring and weigh these up against the pure financial windfalls that can happen for its real estate in the booming economy.”
 
Mr Briggs said that since the museum opened it has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, boosting the local economy.
 
“I still believe that the precinct and the Motor Museum have a great future.  When I am in the United Kingdom, I often visit the National Motor Museum which is the second largest visitor attraction in that nation and there are over 220 other motor museums spread over the British Isles.  The reason there are so many is that they have almost universal appeal,” he said.
 
The World Forum of Motor Museums held in the UK in September was told about the economic impact of the old car movement in Europe and the figures would be similar in Australia.
 
“For example, there are 786,000 historic vehicle enthusiasts in Europe and 2,000 clubs creating an economic impact of A$19.8 billion on the European economy.  Many of these people, and lots of others, visit our museum when they vacation in Western Australia.
 
“It is extremely short-sighted of the State Government to ignore the old car movement in Western Australia – we have enjoyed fantastic support from local motoring enthusiasts since we were told that the Port was advertising our home.”
 
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Media Contact: Peter Briggs  0412 105 374, Graeme Cocks – Fremantle Motor Museum 9322 6955, 0438 980 859.