As AVID Property Groups General Manager Queensland, Bruce oversees all projects and communities across the State. He has a more than 30 years’ experience working in property development, holding CEO and senior executive roles in both the public and private sectors. Bruce holds Planning and Company Director qualifications and has been a member of industry groups including the UDIA, HIA and PIA, in addition to serving on a range of Government and industry advisory boards and committees. Bruce is also the current President of the Property Council Queensland division.
We caught up with Bruce to chat about the challenges, opportunities and market sentiment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his goals and what inspires him.
Q: It’s been an incredible year for AVID, despite the pandemic. What do you attribute this success to?
A: Without a doubt, the Governments timely intervention with the JobKeeper and HomeBuilder incentives gave firstly, a great deal of income security, and then the stimulus for people to buy property. Added to this, very early on the AVID Board took a calculated risk that these measures would benefit those who put stock into production, and the business therefore committed millions of dollars of capital to do this. It was a risk that paid off handsomely.
Q: There have been plenty of opportunities that have come out of COVID-19, but what have some of the challenges or downfalls been as a business leader?
A: Despite what many pundits have been saying about the capacity for large numbers of people to work productively from home, it has been proven that there are substantial management and social benefits of working face-to-face for most people. I believe that the brief flirtation of having large parts of our workforce working entirely remotely will be just that – a brief flirtation.
Q: There is quite a positive outlook for the Queensland housing industry. What do you think we can expect to see in 2021?
A: While the inevitable finish of government stimulus packages will signal the end of the accelerated demand with potential throughs to follow, I predict a significant upswing in interstate migration, particularly from Victoria, that will continue to drive growth for the next two years. Added to this is the return of 30,000 international Australians, a significant portion who will choose to settle in Queensland.
Q: How important is the extension of Government Incentives and support of the development and construction industry into 2021?
A: The government incentives have been critical in the support of both the land development and residential construction industry, and taken together with a long term low interest rate outlook, has encouraged thousands of Australians to enter the home ownership market. This has had a major stimulus which has radiated throughout the whole economy.
Q: Where do you see the Queensland arm of AVID 3-5 years from now? What are your goals between now and then? A: I see us being at least double our current size. Our Board has made some bold and commercially clever steps to allow the business to create great returns which will set us on that growth trajectory.
My personal goal is to contribute what I can to make that happen, and to ensure we continue to build creative and profitable new communities.
Q: How has your role as President of the Property Council of Australia, Queensland supported you in your role with AVID?
A: The Property Council of Australia is a terrific body that has demonstrated its advocacy strengths during the pandemic – not only arguing and lobbying for the HomeBuilder stimulus, but being engaged at a cabinet level to help steer responses to the crisis. It has given me both a front row seat and a voice to Federal and State Government to advocate for our industry.
Q: You have a lot on your plate, managing a large team and a growing portfolio of projects in Queensland, what drives you each day? Likewise what keeps you up at night?
A: I go to work each day because it’s as simple as I like what I do. This year threw up numerous challenges that literally kept me up at night – part of the work challenge is strategising how you can solve these things.
Q: Has there been someone or something that has inspired you in your career?
A: I have been incredibly lucky in my career to work with some great leaders and clever people, including some joint venture partners. I have always liked working with people who value innovation and wanting to leave a legacy. I think it says a lot that in my working career spanning more than 40 years that I have worked longer at AVID than in any other role.