Danni Hunter.

The Property Council’s ACT executive director, Adina Cirson, has been named acting executive director of the Property Council of Australia’s Victorian division, to replace outgoing incumbent Danni Hunter.

Ms Hunter stood down from her position after she allegedly made a racially insensitive remark during the organisation’s annual gala event in June. 

Ms Girson will commence in the role on Monday 8 August. 

A spokesperson from the Property Council told The Fifth Estate a recruitment process for a permanent replacement will begin shortly.

Ms Hunter allegedly made the remarks, which she intended as a joke, at the organisation’s People in Property Gala Awards Dinner, which was held at the Crown Palladium on 23 June.

Last week, both The Age and the Herald Sun reported that Ms Hunter had apologised to staff in the days after making the remarks and taken leave afterwards, with one staff member reportedly resigning in response to the comments.   

Ironically, just a few days before the event, Ms Hunter had tweeted: “The opportunities for all of us in increasing diversity and inclusion go far beyond gender. Intersectionality – if you’re not thinking about it, you should be. These amazing leaders are at the forefront of change.”

In a statement, a Property Council spokesperson confirmed that the organisation had accepted Ms Hunter’s resignation. 

“We thank Danni for her strong advocacy and contribution during her time with the organisation and wish her well for her future. 

“Danni has made the decision to tender her resignation due to the stress and publicity that has surrounded recent events. Throughout this period the Property Council has provided support to our staff and to Danni, and maintained confidential processes in accordance with our robust policies and procedures. 

“The Property Council is an organisation that is committed to our values. These set out who we are as an organisation and the standard we expect of our people.”

Ms Hunter took on the role as executive director in January 2021, after her predecessor, Cressida Wall, was appointed as the chief executive of the Office of Projects Victoria.

Ms Hunter had previously been the chief executive of the Victorian branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia from 2015 to 2021. 

Prior to that, she had been a senior advisor to Matthew Guy, who is currently Victoria’s state opposition leader and was the minister of planning in the Baillieu/Napthine government at the time.

Ms Cirson, who has served as the Property Council’s ACT executive director since 2016, has more than 15 years’ public policy and communications experience, having previously been a senior policy advisor to federal Senator Kate Lundy.

After moving to the ACT government in 2006, Ms Cirson was a senior policy advisor to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, advising him on affordable housing, climate change and water security policy. 

She has also served as director of communications for ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, was the chief of staff to ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, and was senior communications consultant to ACTEW on water security major projects.

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