Doing the hard yards in reform

You often hear the lament that Australia seems to have lost its appetite for the big picture, nation-building reforms of previous decades.

The reality is that reform has never been easy. Advocates for reform have always needed to buckle up and prepare for the long haul while dodging the slingshots and bullets of public opinion and political fortune.

Australia is now facing a new set of challenges as we deal with a rapidly growing population which is testing the limits of our current infrastructure and institutional settings. We need new ideas and fresh impetus to set up Australia for success in the metropolitan century.

Infrastructure Australia’s latest report, Making Reform Happen, contains important recommendations that deserve serious consideration by all levels of government. Chief of these recommendations is an incentive-based approach which would make additional infrastructure funding available – over and above existing allocations – in return for important reforms across the infrastructure sector.

Of course, we’ve done this before and demonstrated it works where incentives have been provided through National Competition Policy and asset recycling.

The Property Council has long advocated for incentive-based approaches to drive reform. We’ve highlighted their importance in housing markets. Our advocacy has been reflected in Government and Opposition policy in relation to federal funding agreements for housing, as well as the recently-announced Western Sydney City Deal.

Whether we are championing great Australian cities, reforms to boost housing supply or infrastructure financing, we’re here for the hard yards to get the right policies in place to support a growing and prosperous Australia.

Early this year we asked our members for their views on our performance. The feedback was overwhelmingly favourable with some important insights. A summary is provided below.

Last week, we inducted two industry champions, Sir Albert Jennings and Frank Charnock into the Australian Property Hall of Fame. This week, we profile Frank Charnock and reflect on some of his lessons after a lifetime in the property industry.

Frank’s sustained leadership over many decades serves as a reminder that driving change is never easy. But it’s necessary.