Advantage Wollongong research, UOW ‘In Conversation’ Student Event and New Member: Southern Cross Housing

NSW September 9, 2019

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Advantage Wollongong research, UOW Student Event and New Member: Southern Cross Housing

It has been a great few weeks in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region, we held our Illawarra Business Lunch on 9 August on a Wollongong City Deal, which was a fantastic event attended by over 140 people. Our keynote speaker, Geoff Roberts AM provided us with six key learnings from his experience as Chief Coordinator of the Western Sydney City Deal and we also received excellent insights from all our panel speakers Lindy Deitz, Greg Doyle, Debra Murphy and William Power.

Over the next month we continue our great line up of events, with our inaugural Shoalhaven Business Lunch just held on 6 September in Nowra which was a fantastic event. This will be followed by two member briefings with the University of Wollongong and ANZ in October, so look out for these. Last week, we also held our first event with undergraduate students at the University of Wollongong with a panel of local property industry professionals to tell them all about the wonderful world of property and the many opportunities available (read more the story below).

On the advocacy front, the Illawarra Committee has been continuing their work on a range of issues, including two formal submissions that were submitted in relation to Shellharbour City Council’s Draft Housing Strategy and Wollongong City Council’s Draft West Dapto Contributions Plan. With housing affordability being a key focus for our Committee, our work together as an industry on both these projects is vital - we must continue to work with local councils to provide advice on the impacts of increased fees, while also encouraging them to look at more innovative ways of delivering housing and infrastructure to ensure we are providing affordable and diverse housing for our communities.

Lastly, I would like to officially welcome three new members from the Illawarra Shoalhaven to the Property Council including Kells the Lawyers, Maguire & McInerney Lawyers and Walsh & Monaghan Valuers. We look forward to working with you all and learning more about your organisations!

As always, if you have any questions or would like to know more about the Property Council in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, please feel free to contact me at

Advantage Wollongong releases new research

Advantage Wollongong has recently released research which was undertaken by Fifth Quadrant that evaluates Wollongong as a location capable of attracting and supporting a thriving Knowledge Services sector.

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The research has found that Wollongong offers the lowest salary, operational and real estate costs for businesses in areas such as finance, accounting, HR, administration, and IT. Relative to Sydney, Parramatta and Melbourne, Wollongong is the least expensive location with the lowest salary and real estate costs delivering savings in the range of 28-32% for a 150-seat operation.  

The report finds Wollongong to be a superior business location, outperforming competitor commercial hubs in not only lower operational costs, but also in terms of growth and staff turnover - under half that of the national average, which is a 69% savings for business in Wollongong compared to businesses in other parts of Australia. 

Economic Development Manager at Wollongong City Council, Mark Grimson has said “The outlook for our city is extremely positive, with growth forecast at 11% over the next 12 months alone. Wollongong CBD is currently home to over 26,000 jobs, with a 20% increase in jobs since 2011. It has seen $1.4 billion in infrastructure investment since 2012 and boasts 70,000 square metres of DA-approved commercial space.

“The city is no doubt the new magnet for talent and businesses operating in the Professional Services sector. Not only do local businesses have access to a constant supply of world class University of Wollongong graduates, they are also able to tap into the 23,000 highly talented and educated commuter population,” Mr Grimson said.  

Click here to view the summary report

University of Wollongong Student Event

On Tuesday 3 September, we held an exclusive ‘In Conversation with the Property Council’ event for undergraduate students at the University of Wollongong. The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to students of the many opportunities the property industry offers, and to give them an insight in to the potential careers available through a panel session with local industry professionals.

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Our panel speakers included Jennifer Macquarie – Director, Fountaindale Group and Chair, Property Council Illawarra, Greg Walls – Planning Manager, NSW Ports, Holly Howell – Marketing Manager, GPT, Ryan Cook – Economic Development Office, Wollongong City Council and Chris Wild – Commercial Director at Property Council who moderated the discussion.


Students got the chance to hear about each of the speaker’s careers, their roles and how they relate to the property industry. It was also a great opportunity for our local industry professionals to share their advice, wisdom and experiences learnt in their careers with students to help them post-graduation. Students also had the chance to network, mingle and ask questions of the speakers.

Many thanks to Paris Dennett and the Careers Central team at the University of Wollongong for their help in putting on this event, and of course our very experienced and talented local members who gave up their time to be part of the event and share their insights with students!



Southern Cross Housing (SCH) is a Registered Tier 1 Community Housing Provider that currently manages over $700 million worth of assets, with more than 2200 properties from Wollongong to Bega, across to Jindabyne. They are one of the very few Community Housing providers in Australia who have their own right to construct.  

Amongst its pipeline of developments, one of Southern Cross Housing highlights is the recent construction of a fit for purpose development located in Nowra. A modern, fully accessible seven-unit complex designed for people with mobility issues and for elderly people to age in place. Each apartment is fully self-contained, designed for flexibility. The complex includes a common area so people can socialise or alternatively enjoy their independence and privacy. It is also designed for energy efficiency including the principles of passive solar. 

Over the next five years, Southern Cross Housing is also committed to increasing its trainee program with about 200 units in the pipeline for the Shoalhaven, creating opportunities for trainees. Southern Cross Housing CEO, Alex Pontello said “Obviously going down this path allows us significant cost savings, but more importantly it allows us to ramp up a trainee program, utilising the subcontractors as mentors. This also allows the trainees to gain experience in all areas of the construction process.”  14-SCCH_AndersonAve-12

A number of SCH trainees have shared their experiences, including Tyler Wills, who was a part of the Housing Cert II Construction Traineeship and said he “enjoyed the time working with the team and building a project that will be an important part of the Nowra community.” His aim is to further his studies and then to potentially join SCH as a full-time employee. 


Ryan Wallace has said he joined SCH because of the kind of work they did in the community, “I was very keen to try something new and something that would really challenge and help grow my skillset. During my time at SCH, I have met so many new people and learnt so much about myself and the community I live in. I love the team I work with and can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

For more information on Southern Cross Housing, visit their website here.