“Why do objectors invariably caricature developers as ‘greedy’? And yet, bizarrely enough, these are often the same people who drone on about the need for affordable housing.”
Bernard Salt, Partner at KPMG, shares his views on the property development issue.
The editor of Property Australia has asked me if I would like to present a session at the Property Council’s annual Congress in Darwin late in July. Indeed, would I like to present on the subject of my recent columns: the rising tide of negativism popularly directed at the property industry?
What could I say but yes?
So there I will be at the Darwin convention centre late in the morning of Monday July 25, a-ranting and a-raving about how the property industry, and other business sectors, are being beaten about the head by public sentiment that has turned against so-called big business.
And just in case you weren’t aware, all property developers qualify as ‘big business’ whether in fact they are a publicly listed company or a small builder. They are all in cahoots and they are all just interested in foisting on an unsuspecting public bland McMansions at outrageously inflated prices. Didn’t you know that?
One of the points I will be making in this session is my disbelief at the way the property industry is responding to these popular charges. Nothing. No fight back. No advertising campaign. (The mining industry knows how to muster public sentiment.) Not even a clapped-out PR hack retained in a half-hearted attempt to neutralise negative sentiment.
And certainly no guerrilla campaign to offset the impact of negative and misleading blogs. Go onto the websites of anti-growth people and put the other side of the argument.
I can’t decide whether the property industry has decided to say nothing in the vain hope that sanity will ultimately prevail. (No it won’t. It will get worse.) Or whether the property industry just doesn’t know what to do.
I’ll tell you what you do. You fight. You fight issue by issue. You fight every piece of misinformation with correct information. Positive stories of what the development industry contributes to the nation are disseminated.
The property industry is full of good corporate citizens doing what they think best meets market needs and delivering a product at a cost-effective price and in a way that complies with government regulations – even the ones dreamt up by council planners that think they know the market.
Oh, and by the way, as a reward for doing all of this the property industry gets to pay a heap of taxes along the way. And what thanks does the industry get? Nothin’. Not a cracker. Not a sausage.
But in order to add weight to my, let’s call this rant a ‘presentation’, I need your help. I want to hear real life stories – names and companies will be altered to protect the innocent if needs be – of the trials of modern day property development. What are the tactics, the bizarre misrepresentations and the goings-on that are solely designed to frustrate or stymie the progress of property?
And I’m not limiting this litany of absurd behaviour to professional protestors or to competitors. (Not that competitors use the planning system to protect their patch.)
Do you have any stories of local council intransigence, incompetence or just plain woolly headedness that would beggar belief? I bet you do. Every property developer does. (Please note that I am placing a limit on submissions from the state of NSW.)
I want to display for the entire world to see exactly what the property development industry has to put up with in order to deliver housing, or commercial property, across Australia.
Why do objectors invariably caricature developers as ‘greedy’? And yet, bizarrely enough, these are often the same people who drone on about the need for affordable housing.
Yeah, well perhaps if you didn’t object to every development on the most spurious of grounds then maybe the cost of property development wouldn’t be so high.
As you can see, my rant is in full swing and there’s still two months to go. Bring on Darwin. And bring on a full list of examples and evidence from the frontline of exactly what the property development industry has to put up with.
Do you think I should take a sedative and have a lie down before I read the full horror of what’s going on at the coalface?
Send material to me at the email address below.
KPMG Partner Bernard Salt is now on:
Source: Property Council of Australia, http://www.propertyoz.com.au/Article/NewsDetail.aspx?p=56&mid=1727