By the mid-1990s the industry was brimming with new ambition and the desire to play its role on the national stage. And so the Property Council of Australia was born.
Recreating our association as the Property Council of Australia in 1996 positioned us as a uniquely powerful voice for Australia’s property industry.
The global recession in the 1990s, following the Black Monday stock market collapse, hit our industry hard. The Reserve Bank cash rate peaked at a punishing 17.5 per cent in January 1990. Unemployment reached double digits and the national office vacancy rate passed 20 per cent.
But Australia’s property industry was rapidly professionalising. Traditional divisions between property sectors were blurring as companies expanded their portfolios, growing in strength and scale.
After a slow start, Australian real estate investment trusts took off, and by the mid-1990s had grown to a capitalisation of $7 billion.
In 1996, the year the Howard Government took office, most politicians and policymakers saw the Building Owners and Managers Association as part of the old guard – an old-fashioned trade association representing office owners and managers and not much more.
But the Property Council Board and CEO Peter Verwer AO had a big, bold idea. After stepping into the CEO’s shoes in 1992, Peter was determined to rebrand and reinvigorate the organisation with a new language of prosperity and positivity – one that embraced our growing cities and communities.
Newly relaunched as the Property Council of Australia, we began to explain the importance of cities as engine rooms of the economy and how all Australians had a stake in property through their superannuation.
The relaunch gave us a chance to rewrite our constitution, professionalise our governance and importantly, establish talented executive directors in each city with the skills needed to take our organisation forward. We were ready to expand the services we provided to our members.
Our investment in research and advocacy began delivering serious dividends and our political influence deepened.
Under our new inclusive banner, we became the voice for a world-class property industry proudly playing its role on a global stage.