The necessity of compromise

It doesn’t matter if you live in a large city or on a quiet town, every day we are required to make compromises.

Sometimes it’s as much about keeping the peace as it is about bringing people with you.

For most in this industry, compromise is a necessary and vital skill.

The buildings we might dream about are often curtailed by cost, law and by time and circumstance. Often change makes projects more secure and we discover that negotiation can be a vital ingredient in optimising eventual success.

I can’t think of a project that hasn’t involved compromise.  Sydney’s Opera House is a classic compromise – the architect Utzon who gave us Sydney’s world renowned sails was never allowed to deliver the interior he dreamed about – budgets and deadlines beckoned even for a genius like Utzon.

In recent months the industry has faced its own questions about compromise as the Victorian, NSW and Queensland Governments have introduced new foreign investor taxes. These taxes simply damage supply, add to the cost of new housing and make our country a less attractive place to do business.

However, our job is to negotiate where we can to scrape off some of the rough edges and unintended consequences of these foreign investor taxes.

In Victoria, we worked to gain vital carve-outs for retirement villages, hotels, motels and student accommodation, as well as for developers of new product.

In Queensland, the Government last week announced that exemptions will be available for projects that receive ‘significant development’ status.

But in NSW the Government has refused to make sensible changes to stop these taxes increasing the cost of producing new housing and commercial property. It’s a naive response that flies in the face of its rhetoric and other policy settings.

These foreign investor taxes risk damaging the market at a sensitive time in the cycle, but there’s simply no case to make the production of new housing more expensive as well.