MTAA on the canvas MTAA Super has been the first in many things over the years: such as having a painting commissioned of its secretariat. (Cbus famously owns a bunch of artworks, but none of itself as far as we know.) The story starts back in 1999, when chief executive of the fund and the motor trades association, Michael Delaney, was walking out of a meeting in Parliament House. As a contemporary report in The CanberraTimes has it, he noticed the huge Tom Roberts’ impression of the opening of the Australian Parliament, and thought ‘we should have one of those’. In classic ‘bicentennial project’ fashion, Canberra artist Michael Winters was contracted, and soon attended one of the MTAA’s board meetings to note ‘personal idiosyncrasies’ and make sure he got the likenesses of directors and their staff. Seven months later, Winters had completed a huge oil on canvas measuring 3.3 by 1.4 metres, and depicting no fewer than 39 of the MTAA milieu. The painting took pride of place in the second boardroom at MTAA House for many years. Unfortunately the MTAA communicates with us via lawyers’ letters only these days, so we can’t confirm a story that the work has more recently been retired, along with Winters’ individual portraits of certain former MTAA presidents.

Now to bring up affordable housing…
Politicians have to sell messages, we all well know, and just like other humans they sometimes tire of the task. Even the youthful and energetic federal Housing Minister, Tanya Plibersek. While spruiking the Government’s affordable housing scheme to entice institutional investors, she recently confided on the side: “In the circles I mix in it’s called ‘vomit’. It’s where you say the same thing over and over again until you get to the point that if you say it one more time you think you’ll be sick. It’s at that point that the message starts to sink in.” So, expect to hear more about the scheme, which has so far delivered about 11,000 new residences for eligible rent-assisted tenants, with another 11,000-or-so to be announced in August. The scheme looks tailor-made for super funds, with the Government providing an incentive equivalent to about 8 percentage points over 10 years for the owners of new residences provided to eligible people at a discount. Plibersek said that several institutions and property developers were looking to package up the investments to make them more accessible to the super fund industry as well as retail investors. The Government has an initial target of 50,000 new residences, although the Prime Minister said earlier this year that incentives for an additional 50,000 would be forthcoming if the scheme proves successful. The Government’s contribution for the first 50,000 is estimated at about $650 million.

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