Tony Collidge to finish up as president of the REIT
IN a few weeks, Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Tony Collidge will finish up his last term in the industry’s top job. We sat down for a chat about achievements, what might have been done differently, and what comes next.
How are you feeling about the presidency coming to an end in October?
Tony Collidge: I will miss it, but it also needs to happen. The time is right for me to move on and for the next person to come into the role. After five years, it is time for a change. I was lucky in many ways. Everything was set up perfectly for me following on from past presidents Adrian Kelly and Peter Bushby, two extraordinary leaders in our industry. They set the bar high and did a great job in steering the industry. Compared to the turmoil they faced, it was a smooth introduction into the role for me. I have also had the backing of a strong board.
Why is the time right for a change?
TC: One reason is we may see a shift in focus in our industry, where the conversation will move from housing and houses, to tenancy and the rental side of things. I think this is where the political debate is heading. That makes it a good time for a fresh start and someone new to come in.
When you first took on the top job you were keen to educate the public about your sector. Mission accomplished?
TC: It’s funny looking back at it, but I would say we achieved that. Over the past few years I have learned a lot about Tasmanian real estate.
What have you enjoyed most about the role?
TC: Learning. Learning a whole lot of new things. I’ve always enjoyed looking into the data to get an understanding of what is going on. Then there is the wait for the next lot of data to come out and figuring out what the numbers are saying. There is a thrill there. It has been a fantastic opportunity to extend my knowledge from Hobart to statewide. I have found the president role really fulfilling. After 26 years in real estate I’d say the past five years have reignited my passion for real estate. Another thing that I am proud of is Tasmania had about 12,000 transactions last year and the Property Agents Board of Tasmania had less than 100 complaints. That’s about 0.1 per cent. It speaks to the professionalism of our industry. Other states see us as setting the benchmark.
Is there anything you didn’t achieve that you would have liked to?
TC: There are probably a few things. One is to have formed a closer relationship with the Property Council, Master Builders and the HIA. There is an opportunity there for the four bodies to get together — particularly with the pressures the industry faces now — to share information. That could help the State Government. Another is trying to get the Government to understand the mess that planning is in, and how destructive it is to the development of Hobart with the amount of time that it takes. It’s a serious issue. I believe strongly that there should be a set of rules, black and white. Currently there is too much grey.
What’s next for you?
TC: I will be around to help and support the incoming president. I am looking to retire from the industry in the next few years, but before that I want to spend some time with our three outstanding young directors at PRDnationwide, helping in any way that I can and making sure they will be well equipped to continue to run a successful business.
Any last words today?
TC: We have a small, sensational crew at the REIT, a really dedicated group led by Mark Berry, who is one of the best chief executives I have come across. Mark is well respected across political parties and across a variety of industries, not just real estate. The REIT is in a good position going forward. The last but most important person to thank is my wife, who has put up with me getting up at 6am to appear on radio, or having paperwork spread across the loungeroom all weekend long while writing reports.