Peter Verwer |
Monday, 6 December 2010 12:01 AM |
It’s said politics makes strange bedfellows. Although Groucho Marx joked that marriage is a more outlandish bedfellow than pollies.
The Property Council goes to great lengths to work with influential friends.
Our new five-year Powerhouse 3D strategy sets great store in these alliances.
As Property Council national president Daniel Grollo says, “close collaboration with community and industry stakeholders enhances our political effectiveness and corporate reputation.”
That’s because politics is about mobilising constituencies. There is greater strength in a chorus of voices united in common cause.
When we fought and defeated the NSW Government’s idiot vendor duty, our most effective ally was the CFMEU.
The union saw the tax killing off jobs and was more than happy to lend its political muscle.
That included carrying a coffin to Parliament House during our mock funeral for the NSW economy.
More recently, our campaign supporting a solar bonus scheme for property owners included the youthful social activists GetUp!, along with Greenpeace and the Total Environment Centre.
We’ve worked with groups such as the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on several occasions.
The Property Council happily took full page ads supporting an increase in mandatory renewable energy targets with ACF.
In return, they supported an investment allowance to retrofit buildings to a higher environmental standard. If you’re going to ask for a property tax cut, it helps mightily when green groups cheer from the front row.
Our work with Green Cross on their Harden Up campaign – a program to build weather resistance – is another example of strategic alliance building.
The defeat of the Queensland Government’s wacky land tax valuation rules was led by the Property Council and the Shopping Centre Council.
Amongst our many allies were farmers, miners and resort operators.
This year’s 40 percent cut in land tax rates in Tasmania under a Labor-Green government gained heft and credibility under the banner of a broad coalition that included the Newsagents Federation, the Small Business Council and several chambers of commerce.
BEMP: Built Environment Meets Parliament is a unique alliance that presents our views about planning, innovation and infrastructure directly to politicians at Parliament House in Canberra each year.
BEMP comprises the Australian Institute of Architects, the Green Building Council, the Planning Institute of Australia and Consult Australia.
We also work very closely with our friends at Infrastructure Partnerships Australia to press for a greater commitment to nation-building infrastructure priorities and smarter funding.
When it comes to planning issues, we swap notes with the National Growth Areas Alliance and the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors.
Housing sees us working with the Community Housing Federation and Australian Housing Urban Research Institute.
All of our construction industry advocacy is undertaken with the Australian Construction Industry Forum, which includes the Master Builders Association and Housing Industry Association.
Hallmark guidelines on liveable housing design resulted from a unique conversation with diverse stakeholders including disability advocates, the Australian Human Rights Commission and Council on the Ageing.
The Property Law Reform Alliance seeks to establish one set of real estate rules for Australia. It includes RICS, the Real Estate Institute of Australia, most law societies and the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
A spectacular example of strange bedfellow success is the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
In the world of old politics, this eclectic mix of two dozen community and green groups, along with trade bodies and professional societies, wouldn’t give each other the time of day.
ASBEC’s priority programs for sector targets, incentives and energy efficiency trading certificates were rejected by governments just one year ago.
Today they are government policy.
ASBEC proves the great power of coalitions. So often, focus group-led policy results in no policy at all.
It’s collaborative industry and community groups that lead by not only helping develop policy solutions, but handing over a backbone for government to use.
A more traditional alliance is the Business Coalition for Tax Reform (BCTR).
The Hawke-Keating tax summit in 1985 shows what happens when business “jumps out of the tax cart”.
A polarised business sector leaves a vacuum for the ad hoc and accidental.
With a new tax summit slated for mid 2011, the BCTR will be a major idea contributor and advocate.
The BCTR’s agenda will carry even more weight if it can design a tax reform package that’s supported by social welfare groups, such as the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
In a world of independents, The Greens and minority governments, it’s crucial that we get our collective act together.
Building on our network of international alliance partners is also a big priority for Powerhouse 3D.
We need powerful friends to address the increasing array of rules developed by faceless bureaucrats bent on dreaming up global standards on everything that moves, usually with no understanding of our industry or national priorities.
But that is a story for another day.
2010 was the year political blandness and cowardice were rejected by Australian voters.
With smart policies and powerful friends we can make 2011 a year of political courage and policy innovation.
Peter Verwer |
Monday, 6 December 2010 12:01 AM |