Property Australia

Transformational times


Mirvac is still selling and settling apartments, securing approvals and starting new projects. Business is operating “at a different cadence” but the industry’s “inventiveness” is a source of optimism, says Mirvac chief Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

Mirvac’s managing director, former Property Council president and current chair of the Green Building Council of Australia was in conversation with Property Council chief Ken Morrison as part of the GBCA’s TRANSFORM 2020 online conference this morning.

Lloyd-Hurwitz is inspired by the industry’s resilience, and how businesses “have been able to flip into a completely new way of working – with new tools and technology – overnight”.

While it’s “very tough” for those on the front line in the retail sector, construction continues to operate in a “parallel universe” and is “full steam ahead” – something that is vital to Australia’s economic recovery, she said.

Mirvac’s board has just approved $43 million to commence construction at Ascot Green in Brisbane, a “brave, confident move from a board,” Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

“We are still selling residential apartments, settling apartments… a DA just came through and business is operating… at a different cadence, but it is operating.”

GBCA ConferenceMorrison and Lloyd-Hurwitz unpacked the actions that the industry’s leaders can take in an uncertain environment.

“Be decisive about the things you can control, with imperfect knowledge, and don’t stress about the things you can’t control,” Lloyd-Hurwitz advised.

“Reach out across your organisation at all levels” to check in with people, “put your own oxygen mask on first by looking after your own mental and physical health” and use humour to “lighten the moment”.

Maintaining one eye on the current challenge and another on the opportunities ahead is not impossible, she added. The secret is to have diversity of thought around the decision-making table – a mix of those who “wear the black hat and always look for the worst” as well “sunny optimists”.

When it comes to sustainability, the property industry won’t take its foot off the pedal, Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

Government’s approach during this crisis points a way forward to a “more collaborative co-creation attitude” to tackle big existential issues like climate change.

“I feel very optimistic that the sustainability drum will beat more loudly.”

“Nobody would be willing to walk backwards [from sustainability],” she said. And besides, the sustainability agenda is “not green theatre” – it delivers real value to lives, businesses and the bottom line.