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Kirsty Chessher-Brown on defining our value

As the youngest CEO to take the helm of the Queensland team, I feel excited and privileged to be a part of this great organisation’s next chapter. We’ve been paving the way for innovation in the development sector for almost 50 years on behalf of our members, something which we are very proud.

In an advocacy sense, it feels like many of the issues we have represented our members on have been constants over the decades. New legislation and changes in government have necessitated that we represent the industry on matters like land supply, zoning, offsets, infrastructure, and assessment timeframes. Over the years, the nuances of these conversations have changed but their importance to our industry has not, in terms of getting on with the job of developing housing.

Our advocacy work might not be a key motivator to becoming a member for some, but without it the ramifications for the industry would be far reaching. It takes some very special skills to digest legislation and its potential impact for our members at the coalface of delivering a project. Government policies can seem abstract to members until those decisions add thousands in costs or blow out assessment timeframes. It is then the true value of our advocacy efforts is appreciated by our members.

Our independent research program, launched in 2014, has been an invaluable evidence base when communicating with government about the potential or real impacts of their decisions. It has also served our members well in terms of providing information that informs them about local market conditions and changing consumer preferences. In an age where quantitative metrics dictate our lives, our ability to deliver tailored insights to our members is something we know we can offer that has the potential to improve their next project. Another way we serve members is through our professional development program. We get actual developers in a room to take members through project delivery from beginning to end.

The other thing people turn to the Institute for is opportunities to network. Make a new connection, meet a future boss, or reconnect with an old colleague. Our events calendar provides in excess of 80 opportunities a year to mingle with peers and learn something new. Our research program drives our event topics and our events are designed to address current industry issues.

The signature events of the year are our awards program and one-day conference. Our awards program is the most comprehensive in Queensland and takes eight months from launch through to judging and selection of winners by an independent judging panel. We’ve run our awards for 24 years and pride ourselves on its independence and rigour. Our judging panel is made up of industry leaders who visit every project in person as well as reviewing a written submission. The awards are about recognising Queensland developers and their success in delivering outstanding communities.

Our other signature event for the year is a key opportunity to network as well as gather insights from industry thought leaders. Our Annual Developers Conference is an event we invest a lot of time in structuring so as to give our members the most bang for their time and their buck. We are also honored to be hosting the UDIA National Congress next year on the Gold Coast, and have put a lot of time and effort into securing international speakers. Tickets for this event are now on sale at www.udiacongress.com.au.

I am proud to serve our members and I hope people starting out their careers in development take this opportunity to learn more about the UDIA and what we offer. As a corporate membership, any members of the team are entitled to access our services to further their skills, knowledge, and network.

Written by Kirsty Chessher-Brown, Chief Executive Officer, UDIA Queensland.