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Australian Retirement Trust and QIC to partner to deliver social and affordable housing in Queensland

Media release - 25 July 2022

Australian Retirement Trust (ART), one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, has partnered with institutional investment manager QIC to finance new social and affordable housing supply in Queensland.

Working in conjunction with experienced community housing provider, Brisbane Housing Company (BHC), this innovative investment partnership provides a scalable model for the financing, development and operation of social and affordable housing in the state.

Up to 1,200 new homes are to be delivered through the partnership, largely consisting of social and affordable housing, with construction to commence on all projects by 2025.

Via the partnership with QIC, ART is making capital available alongside the Queensland Government to enable delivery of seven projects in the initial stage by the QIC-BHC Social Housing Consortium , representing nearly 600 dwellings.

The first two projects to commence will be located in Sutton St, Redcliffe and Ethel Street, Chermside, with residents able to move in during 2024. The remaining SouthEast Queensland sites will be announced once they are secured.

Australian Retirement Trust’s Head of Sustainable Investment, Nicole Bradford, said the deal is the super fund’s first social issue-focused investment since the merger between Sunsuper and QSuper earlier this year.

“Australian Retirement Trust is proud to be involved in such an important investment to help develop more social and affordable housing across Queensland,” said Ms Bradford.

“As one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, we’re committed to helping solve problems for our community and society, while not compromising on our fiduciary duty to our members, and this project is one example of that.

“We believe this investment opportunity will support more affordable housing in Queensland, while also maximising the real, long-term investment returns for our more than two million members.”

Subject to agreement of terms and finalisation of diligence and documentation, Australian Retirement Trust intend to invest up to $150 million for a subordinated debt tranche, with QIC as investment manager.

Managing Director of QIC Real Estate, Michael O’Brien said, “QIC is proud to be involved in an industry-driven, human-centred response to Queensland’s current housing issues”.

“This unique partnership between Australian Retirement Trust, the Queensland Government and QIC, together with Brisbane Housing Company, has created a significant opportunity for institutional investment into social and affordable housing in Queensland,” Mr O’Brien said.

BHC Chief Executive Officer, Rebecca Oelkers, said, “This program is an exemplar of how state governments and institutional investors can work together with the community housing sector to raise capital and deliver social and affordable housing at scale.”

“It will change the lives of countless Queenslanders who are in dire housing need,” Ms Oelkers said.