Property Council Launches Student Accommodation Council

[19 May 2022] The Property Council of Australia today launched its newly formed Student Accommodation Council and announced Anouk Darling as its inaugural President and Torie Brown its inaugural Executive Director.

The Student Accommodation Council is a newly formed Division of the Property Council, specifically created to represent and advocate for Australia’s Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector.

The Council has been formed off the back of consistently strong industry growth, which, over the last five years, has delivered 31,000 purpose-built student beds with an estimated value of $9.3 billion.

The Council’s 10 founding members account for almost 50,000 of the 123,000 purpose-built beds across Australia, with current assets valued at more than $20 billion, and many more projects in the pipeline.

Inaugural President of the Student Accommodation Council and CEO of Scape, Anouk Darling, said the Council’s advocacy agenda will focus on supporting the maturation of the industry including attracting increased domestic and international capital to the asset class, building relationships with the tertiary education sector, addressing tax and lending frameworks as well as the continued safe return of international students with stable settings to support open borders.

“Today’s launch represents a coming-of-age for our sector – and firmly asserts our position as a growing and maturing asset class,” Ms Darling said.

“We are thrilled that Torie will lead our new Student Accommodation Council in its critical formative stage.

“Students thrive in the Australian education sector and thanks to our members, increasingly have access to high quality purpose built communities to support their learning journey. “We look forward to Torie working with members to build our voice, and contribute to the positive future of international and domestic student experiences,” she said.

In 2020, Ms Darling was appointed CEO of Scape, the country’s largest owner and operator of purpose built accommodation, with over $7 billion in assets under management. She also serves as a Non Executive Director on a variety of Boards including Enero Group (ASX:EGG), Discovery Holiday Parks and Macquarie Telecom Group (ASX: MAQ). She previously served as Operating Partner of private equity company Allegro Funds. Ms Brown is an experienced advocacy and policy professional, and previously served as Acting Executive Director of the Property Council’s Capital Markets Division and Deputy Executive Director of the South Australian division. Most recently, she was a Senior Advisor to South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall. Torie has also served on the Board of the Adelaide Business Hub and been Vice President of the YWCA in Adelaide.

Ms Brown said she was thrilled to be taking on the opportunity.

“It’s such a privilege to be leading the Student Accommodation Council from the outset, as the industry welcomes the return of international students now borders have reopened,” Ms Brown said. “Creating a great living experience for students in a sector that is set to grow rapidly over the next decade is important for Australia’s relationship with the world and for the success of our globally ranked education providers.

“I look forward to creating strong partnerships with universities, advocating strongly for the sector and highlighting the benefits for students, their families, the tertiary education sector and the Australian community as a whole,” she said. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the 900,000 International Students contributed $41 billion to the Australian economy.

The tertiary education’s sector international reputation has seen Australia attract the second highest share of students from Asia, sitting only behind the Unites States. The Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector has, over the last five years supported the creation of 3,500 direct and indirect construction jobs annually, on top of the more than 5,000 who work in the operation of the industry.

The Student Accommodation Council has 10 founding members made up of the country’s most significant student accommodation providers including Campus Living Villages, Cedar Pacific, Iglu, Journal Student Living, Student One, UniLodge, WeeHur, Dwell, Scape and Yugo. The inaugural President of the Council and Chair of the Division is Anouk Darling, CEO of Scape. The three inaugural Deputy Chairs are Co-Founder and Director of Iglu Student Accommodation Richard Smith, Unilodge Chief Executive Officer Tomas Johnsson, and Campus Living Villages Chief Operating Officer John Huber.

Ms Brown will commence her role on 23 May 2022.

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