Hostplus’ CEO David Elia says infrastructure investments like International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) are important for Australia’s economic backbone.

The superannuation fund is a cornerstone partner of the Destination Sydney consortium – alongside Lend Lease, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless – that was announced as the preferred developer of the AUD$1 billion ICC Sydney project by the New South Wales Government.

Hostplus and Lend Lease’s Capella Capital are each investing 50 per cent of the equity in the ICC Sydney development, with debt being provided by a consortium of local and overseas banks.

The project includes the design and construction of the expanded and enhanced international convention centre across approximately 20ha of land at Darling Harbour.

Hostplus’ Chief Executive Officer, David Elia said that there is a “compelling logic to infrastructure investment because it delivers solid, secure returns to investors while simultaneously expanding our nation’s economic capacity and boosting productivity”.

“Our success in this project highlights the solid link that the Fund has with infrastructure that forms our nation’s economic backbone,” he said.

“It demonstrates the ‘virtuous circle’ of Hostplus’ role in infrastructure investment; securing superannuation returns for its members, coupled with the development of tourism and hospitality infrastructure which create jobs that expand the nation’s economic capacity.”

It is projected that the development will create jobs for 1,600 people during the three year construction, which starts at the end of 2013, and provide ongoing employment for 4,000 people across the precinct.

Hostplus’ Chief Investment Officer, Sam Sicilia said that this project “significantly strengthens the position of Hostplus as a major and active participant in the Australian tourism, hospitality and recreation sectors”.

“This development is a great example of our Fund’s ability to leverage the consortium partners’ financial and sector expertise to create the capacity for greater long-term risk adjusted returns to Hostplus members.

“The demographic profile of our fund gives us the capacity and patience to invest in long-term projects like [ICC Sydney]. This project also enhances Hostplus’ portfolio through additional sector diversification and increased regional exposure to the NSW economy.”

Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National CEO, Des Crowe welcomed the investment by Hostplus in the development.

“The ‘Destination Sydney’ consortium of Lend Lease, AEG Ogden and Spotless Group, backed by Hostplus Superannuation will deliver an outstanding facility that would ensure Sydney will be able to compete with other destinations in the Asia Pacific and continue to act as a visitor gateway to the rest of Australia,” he said.

“It is exciting to see the industry super fund for hospitality and tourism investing its members’ funds into new infrastructure in the hospitality and tourism industry. As one of the founders of Hostplus, the AHA is proud to see the fund investing back into the industry.

“It is a promising sign for our industry’s future that a successful fund like Hostplus is confident of delivering strong returns to members by investing in this project.

“This significant development will help to address some of the key aspects of Tourism Australia’s Tourism 2020 long term strategy, delivering improved visitor infrastructure and experience in our biggest city and international gateway.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management