This week, we say farewell and extend our deep gratitude to Peter Inge OAM – a passionate and engaged supporter of the Property Industry Foundation for many years. With a wealth of legal, economic and property skills, Peter has been a valued member of our Victorian Board of Advisors, where he became Chairman, as well as Chair of the House Committee, and member of the National Board. As Peter steps down from his tireless work with the Foundation, we asked him to reflect on the past eleven years.
Why did you initially decide to support the Property Industry Foundation?
The right to have somewhere to live is a fundamental human right. For a country as prosperous as Australia to have more than 100,000 homeless is unacceptable. This inequity resonated with me.
Peter’s message last Christmas
Your family has a long history of philanthropy, why is giving back important to you personally?
My father was a post WW2 refugee who arrived here with nothing. Australia provided him with not only safe refuge, but perhaps, more importantly, with opportunity. As a family, we have been very fortunate. To offer others, who haven’t had the same opportunities, some kind of help is something which has always been a fundamental belief of our family.
What did you want to bring to the foundation?
Unlike most people involved with the Foundation, I don’t work for a large institutional organisation. I’ve tried to act as a bit of a bridge between the organisation and other “privates” who perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have heard of the great work that was being undertaken.
How do you feel about stepping down?
I’ll miss my colleagues but it’s the right time for me to step down. We’ve seen a number of new people come onto the Victorian Board of Advisors and also seen a refresh of the National Board. My replacement Tim Slattery will be a great Chairman – he understands the organisation well and brings great enthusiasm and energy to the role.
Are there any special people you’ll miss at the Foundation?
I’ll miss everyone but am comforted that people like Wendy Brakey, John Masarco and Adele Levinge are still staying around on the Victorian Board of Advisors. They provide an important historical bridge from the past to the future. The organisation is in great hands under the National leadership of Penny Ransom and Kate Mills as our “superstar” CEO. Our State Manager Priscilla Heathwood is the “glue” for us here in Victoria – keeping everything in place where it needs to be. She’s made my job so easy carrying most of the load.
What have been your highlights over the years?
There have been too many highlights to just pick one although it’s hard to go past the first house opening I attended at Lighthouse Bonbeach. To see the faces of the young people who were moving into their shiny brand-new house was something to behold. I often made reference to the fact that if we could do something to change just one young life then it was all worth it. It hit me that day that we are doing a lot more than that. Every house is impactful and significant. I just love the way we leverage off our networks to get so much donated materials/time to deliver tangible real outcomes (houses) which our charity partners turn into homes.
How have you seen the Foundation grow and develop over the years?
The Property Industry Foundation has changed significantly over my time. The appointment of Kate as our CEO has delivered some very positive changes. The quality of the staff is excellent. The profile of the organisation not only within the industry but also with Government has been enhanced. Obtaining DGR1 status has opened up a new donor market. We now have a narrowed focus – building houses – this has led to us increasing our impact.
What are your thoughts on the Property Industry Foundation’s future?
I’m very optimistic about the Foundation’s future. We are pretty much accepted as being the lead charity for the property industry in Australia with a proven track record in delivering tangible, measurable impact. I expect the organisation will continue to grow and increase the number of lives impacted in the positive. Our charity partners will keep delivering services to many young people who through no fault of their own find themselves homeless. The Foundation will keep doing what it does so well – build houses for those partners so they can help young people get back on track.
What’s next for you?
I do a bit of pro bono legal work in the refugee/asylum seeker space. I’m hoping to have a bit more time available to take on a few more cases. Sadly, there is no shortage of work!