JOBS AND BIZ NEWS: The bad news on Tuesday was that Lendlease has slashed 740 people from its workforce, currently 10 times that number globally, as the world continues to move into uncertain territory.
Chief executive Tony Lombardo reportedly told staff on Tuesday: “The greatest reduction will be in our three international regions as they align to our permanent shift to being an investment-led company with a leaner operating structure, where resources are shared and not replicated.”
Housing and construction
Strategy might be indeed a driver for Lendlease but they’re probably also a bit concerned about the negative sentiment coming from rising interest rates as central banks around the globe try to contain inflation – is this working, is it not? No one seems to be certain yet.
On the ABC’s Four Corners program this week though we saw the impact interest rates and supply chain constraints have had on the construction sector, especially at the residential end where builders and subbies are notoriously undercapitalised.
Which means any hiccup in progress payments or materials supply can tip the delicate balance and turn a negative ripple into a cascade of business failures.
The Reserve Bank knew this was coming and it always has the housing sector uppermost in its mind when it tweaks the levers of interest rates. If it wants to bring down the heat in the economy there’s no more impactful place to start. That’s because housing and its related sectors make up a massive near-25 per cent of the economy.
The other clear message from the ABC program was to flag what most people in the housing and building industry already know and inexplicably accept – which is that people who run dodgy building companies can, with impunity, create a mess, fail, walk away, and start up another company that’s potentially equally messy.
In what world is this an allowable thing to do?
It’s hard to think of a more destructive thing to inflict on a person or family’s assets than wreck their housing dreams. If they’re lucky enough to even try to obtain a home that is.
Few people are ever pinged for this appalling behaviour, as the program pointed out. Which is a massive abnegation of responsibility by governments that are elected and paid to keep their citizens safe, among other things.
There’s no shortage of laws to ensure people behave ethically or that houses and apartments are built to decent standards but there’s a huge shortfall of resources allocated to agencies so they can actually enforce the laws.
In Sydney, as the resi developer Toplace tumbled more than 20,000 homeowners across 20 buildings could be affected. But that’s not the end of it.
Another 64 subsidiaries went under in the past fortnight, making the total fiasco involving around $1.5 billion in development projects potentially the biggest voluntary administration in the property industry in Australia, the administrators said. And it seems there’s very little to stop the same people who created the problems from doing it all again.
In more jobs news
Charlotte Connell has at last revealed where she’s off to in her new gig after leaving Climate Salad where she’s been a force of nature for the past couple of years building up the tech start-up ecosystem founded by Mick Liubinskas.
She’s joining Greenhouse, the tech hub that will be located at the new Salesforce building at Circular Quay in Sydney. The venture is a collaboration with the City of Sydney and comprises a 3800 square metre hub that promises to be “Australia’s largest entrepreneurial hub dedicated to Climate Action”.
The website says the aim is to attract and support 500 “ecopreneurs and climate action supporters through a state-of-the-art facility with an event space, recording studio, private office suites, meeting rooms, dedicated desks, and collaboration seats.”
It opens in October. And if what we’ve seen of Connell’s work so far is any guide, hold onto your hats tech start up world.
Her new role is climate tech ambassador.
Arup NSW-ACT has a new energy business leader with the appointment of Thomas Briault after 20 years with the company.
Arabella Rohde has been appointed the new area manager for the ACT at AECOM, after roles including immediate past president of the ACT Division Property Council of Australia, ISPT and Lendlease where she led the delivery of large mixed-use developments.
On the waste front the federal and Queensland Labor governments have announced that more than $13.3 million will be invested in 13 new recycling projects with a focus on regional communities such as Atherton, Moura, Mareeba and Thursday Island.