May message from Michael Tilt, CEO

Earlier this month, the Turnbull government delivered the federal budget. On the same day, two key trends in the Australian property market were confirmed: housing prices are dropping, and sales listings are increasing in all the capitals, except Melbourne. As more properties come on the market, this will compound price drops, correcting the overvaluation of the market. At MacroPlan, we expect to see a reduction in prices across some segments of the market, which would result in buying opportunities for astute purchasers.

One of the big-ticket items announced in the budget was a $75 billion 10-year national infrastructure plan aimed at delivering rail links, tackling traffic congestion and improving road safety.

Interestingly, road safety was also top of mind at the PIA National Congress during the plenary session facilitated by our chairman, Brian Haratsis. The lively session looked at the role of driverless vehicles in moving around the cities of the future, and addressed a number of pressing issues, including the potential for autonomous vehicles to improve safety.

The PIA Congress also provided the occasion for the announcement of the Planning Excellence Awards. While I congratulate all nominees and winners, I am particularly proud of Gary White, MacroPlan’s former Chief Planner, for taking out the title of Planner of the Year. Gary is currently Chief Planner with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, and the judges noted that he has helped to ‘raise the status of strategic planning at every opportunity’.

At the culmination of yet another successful PIA Congress - this one attracting over 500 participants to Perth’s new convention centre - MacroPlan hosted the gala dinner at which I had the opportunity to thank the outgoing President, Brendan Nelson. His position will be taken up in November by current Vice President, Steve O’Connor.

This past month also saw the Queensland state government release two reports on the proposed South East Queensland City Deal. As you may recall, the first Australian City Deal for Townsville was agreed at the end of 2016.

The City Deal is a UK initiative which began six years ago with eight cities outside London and has now been introduced across 38 UK city-regions.  The intention of these deals is to create stronger urban and regional centres through smarter strategic planning, infrastructure investment and local governance. Proponents describe the deals as transformative, supercharging economic growth and productivity.

Just as Australia has looked to the UK for inspiration in city development, I’ve been off overseas to meet a range of international peers across Asia and the US. I also made time to visit the American Planning Conference in the US, and I’ve returned home excited by how we can keep developing our client solutions. If you are an economist or planner - experienced or just starting out - and keen to join us as we grow, then be in touch.

The PIA awards were not the only industry gongs in May. The Property Council of Australia also announced its winners, with NSW scooping the pool. Lendlease’s Barangaroo South won the prestigious Development of the Year, as well as a handful of other titles including the People’s Choice Award and Best Sustainable Development. The ICC Sydney Convention Centre took out Best Public Building and Best Tourism and Leisure Development.

But will NSW retain its winning position in the next big competition on the annual calendar: rugby league’s State of Origin? The odds are on NSW to turn the tide... All the best to both states.

Finally, as June 30th approaches, MacroPlan are undertaking a series of strategic outlook briefings for boards and senior management.  If you are interested in discussing further, please get in contact.

Michael Tilt