Image of Stuart Penklis

Stuart Penklis

Head of Residential

Stuart Penklis was appointed Head of Residential in April 2017.

The Road to Recovery – Communities as Economic Catalyst

25th June 2020

There's been plenty of discussion lately about economic stimulus. Looking at our own industry, it's heartening to be reminded of the enormous multiplier effect property development and construction offers in terms of jobs creation and wider community benefit.

Jobs creation through construction

Anyone who's worked in the development and construction industry for an extended period of time like I have, knows just how important its role as an economic stimulator and jobs creator is. In good times and bad, we've seen our sector maintain a much-needed flow of investment into employment-creating projects. With state and territory governments across Australia looking to find a way out of the current economic downturn, it was pleasing this week to read of the quantifiable benefits our sector delivers, with National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation research showing that for every new home built, on average, three jobs are created.

"In good times and bad, we've seen our sector maintain a much-needed flow of investment into employment-creating projects."

Further, the research showed that construction was the second-largest economic multiplier of any industry. So, when you start crunching the numbers, there's compelling evidence of the development and construction industry's potential to help us climb out of the current pandemic-induced slump. Looking back at activity across our own portfolio in the current financial year, for example, we can garner first-hand insights into the powerful correlation between property development and construction activity – and jobs on the ground.

A powerful multiplier effect

On the back of the first 1,000 apartment settlements for our business in FY20, we can see that as many as 25,000 inductions have been made on Mirvac building sites in the same period. That's 25,000 individuals helping to directly deliver our projects, in addition to the many thousands of people working offsite in a supply chain capacity. When you add to these apartment figures settlements across our master planned communities projects, the number of jobs being supported is simply staggering.

"That's 25,000 individuals helping to directly deliver our projects, in addition to the many thousands of people working offsite in a supply chain capacity."
The upshot of all of this jobs creation is many thousands of gainfully-employed people playing their part in the creation of thriving residential communities. These communities in turn make their own valuable contribution as places that support small businesses, such as cafés and vital service providers, such as childcare centres. We're proud to have helped numerous operators – and even a few new school campuses – to become established within our development projects over the last couple of years. These new ventures expand the value-add of our communities far beyond their physical footprint by generating long-term social and economic flow-on benefits.

The importance of design excellence, quality and care

The construction and property development industries are not alone of course in their capacity to help re-set the economic status quo and drive growth. However, it's worth remembering our distinguishing role as placemakers, not just economic stimulators. So, while our industry has immense potential to (quite literally) rebuild our economy, we also have an equally weighty responsibility to set ever higher benchmarks of design excellence, quality and care. That's why it's beholden on us to not only get on with the job, but to get it done right – balancing community outcomes with leading-edge design and best practice construction methods.

"That's why it's beholden on us to not only get on with the job, but to get it done right – balancing community outcomes with leading-edge design and best practice construction methods."
As we emerge out of COVID-19, never has that responsibility been more acute. The opportunity now before us is to harness the galvanising effect of the health and economic crisis we have all endured, to plan and deliver property and construction projects with even more care, more respect and more consideration for the future. To ensure our homes and communities are set-up to endure whatever comes next. And while we may have had to learn some hard lessons along the way, we remain hopeful of making a bigger, better and more meaningful impact as an industry, in the months and years ahead.