Committee Connect wrap

More than 150 Property Council committee members joined us yesterday for our inaugural ‘Committee Connect’ session via Microsoft Teams videoconference.

‘Committee Connect’ is a new initiative to not only provide a forum for our industry participants to learn more about our advocacy but provide another connection in lieu of our regular in-person events.

Our members were fortunate enough to hear from Richard Gibbs, a director at Urbis and leading Australian economist, and Roger Teale, our immediate past Property Council Victorian president and recently appointed co-chair of the new Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce.

Roger provided an overview of the enormous agenda of the taskforce, which is a key conduit between the property industry and the Victorian Government, especially the Treasurer and Minister for Planning.

Through a series of steering committees (which directly include the Property Council), working groups and bilateral meetings, the taskforce has gathered information on live issues that have inhibited construction and development, and any associated job creation.

Those issues have led to a series of measures and initiatives that are progressively being put forward by the taskforce, such as a cross-departmental project fast track team, which led to the approval of four key proposed Melbourne developments last week.

Roger confirmed the taskforce was looking for shovel ready projects of various scale to put forward for fast tracking, which would cover inner Melbourne, the middle ring, greenfield areas on the urban fringe and regional Victoria.

The taskforce is also working towards a range of other stimulus and economic recovery measures.

Richard provided a summary of economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the job losses in the hardest hit sectors including accommodation, tourism and hospitality.

It would be difficult to revive those sectors quickly, Richard said, given the likely prolonged nature of the pandemic and the potential for a ‘second wave’ in line with previous pandemics such as the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago. The economic growth emanating from net migration will also be almost completely nullified as global border control measures are set to remain in place for many months.

Richard said the economic recovery would not be led by grand ‘nation building’ projects but a big immediate boost in social infrastructure and an escalation in small to medium term shovel ready projects, which could yield more immediate benefits.

Many thanks to all the members who participated and sent through their questions.