Martin Hill AM recognised for business, sailing and community service

Founder and CEO of HillPDA Martin Hill AM, was recognised in this years’ Australia Day awards for significant service to business, sailing and the community.

Contribution to the Property Industry: Decision Support Software

As one of Australia’s leading property economists, Martin designed and developed the Estate Master software model in the early 1990s. The model became the leading software of its kind in the property and banking sectors in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Until its sale to a US competitor in 2016, the Australian model was used by over 15,000 people, from 1,400 companies, located in over 46 countries. Users included major Australian organisations such as the Commonwealth Bank, Stockland, Lend Lease and Walker Corporation as well as Government Agencies including Landcom and LAHC (Land and Housing Corporation).

The software was one of the first commercial programs that allowed property developers, valuers and industry professionals to easily and accurately calculate the residual land value of a development site(s) and the prospective feasibility of its redevelopment using a discount cash flow (DCF) approach.

The software, including the DCF approach was revolutionary, allowing for significantly more accurate and effective assessments of development costs and market values, particularly for complex projects staged over many years. The Estate Master software provided a detailed assumption input sheet with transparent cashflow output to give the users a more effective tool to model cash flow forecasts and assess the discount return expressed by IRR (internal rate of return) and the traditional development margin method for comparison. The new approach has been used to guide quality outcomes in major projects around the world including the Palm in Dubai; Barangaroo in Sydney and Docklands in Melbourne.

Initially Martin’s DCF approach was not accepted by industry professionals or the Australian Courts. Convinced of its significant merit in advancing knowledge and practice in the property industry, Martin persisted for over a decade teaching and training the industry and lecturing at universities to guide existing and emerging professionals in the application of the DCF approach.

Through Martin’s innovation, persistence and education in the early 2000’s the property industry, Australian banks and Australian State Governments adopted Martin’s Estate Master Development Feasibility software as a benchmark for negotiating development outcomes and assessing their suitability. Australian Courts and Independent Planning Commission now also acknowledge the DCF approach as an essential method and form of evidence in their determinations. (see Independent Planning Commission Gateway Determination Review for the Kensington and Kingsford Town Centres GR_2018_RandW_001_00)

Martin is widely recognised by his peers for his expertise in DCF modelling, software development and innovation. He has provided financial feasibility guidance on many of Australia’s most complex urban renewal areas, major master plans and developments including Barangaroo and Sydney Olympic Park. On the basis of his expertise and pragmatism, Martin regularly applies his knowledge on economic impact and development feasibility as an expert witness in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

This was acknowledged in his recent award of the UTS Alumni Award for Excellence – Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building and UTS Chancellor’s Award for Excellence 2018. The award is the overarching award for the University across all Faculties recognizing Martin as a Luminary for his work in advancing professional standards and providing his software free of charge to university students worldwide as part of their real estate, finance and property economics studies. The program developed by Martin with 32 university partners advanced the knowledge and application of DCF to young professionals, improving professional standards and the transparency of decision making. The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence also recognised Martin’s significant contribution to affordable housing, explained further below.

Contribution to the Property Industry: Affordable Housing

Working in his teenage years in boarding houses, Martin becoming acutely aware of the challenges faced by the most vulnerable in our community and obstacles to securing a roof over their heads. Martin consequently combined his property economic skills and software innovations with his strong sense of social justice to develop new practical policy approaches to deliver affordable rental housing for those most in need.

Martin pioneered the use of floor space bonuses and a concept known as inclusionary zoning, through the NSW planning system, to incentivise the provision of a new form of housing for Sydneysiders in the early 1990s. Not to be mistaken with social housing, affordable rental housing is designed for households who work and play a critical role in supporting the operation of our cities, but who for various reasons, temporarily or permanently cannot afford a roof over their heads.

By effectively applying the planning system and understanding the economics of the development industry, Martin was in a unique position to design a new approach to housing policy that could effectively secure additional housing for rent for households on low and moderate incomes.

The concept for affordable rental housing was first introduced in NSW in the Ultimo / Pyrmont Area in the 1990s following Martin’s ground-breaking research and policy development with colleague Vincent Berkhout. It paved the way for similar approaches in the Green Square urban renewal area in the City of Sydney, Waverley and Willoughby local government areas, securing thousands of affordable rental homes for Sydneysiders to date.

Martin’s approach and subsequent developments in policy thinking, was also an early precursor to the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) affordable rental housing targets that are now NSW Government Policy and are to be applied across Greater Sydney. Sarah Hill (Martin’s daughter) is the CEO of the GSC and would be happy to verify this.

Martin’s property expertise, policy innovation and community conscience combined when he established Metro Housing – a not for profit, in the late 1990s. The initial project was in O’Connor ACT, becoming the first joint venture between a community housing provider and the private sector to deliver a mix of affordable rental and market housing for sale in one development. The model has been replicated by several not-for-profits in the years since to further increase the supply and diversity of housing opportunities for people in Australia.

Martin has also innovated in housing policy, developing the Waverley Affordable Housing Program Calculator which provides a uniform approach to quantifying the financial benefits, as well as uniformity and accountability of the value of the additional floor space for the purposes of a public benefit.

Martin’s innovation in the field of housing affordability led him to serve as a member of the NSW Ministerial Taskforce for Housing Affordability (1996); Director of the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority (1999 – 2004) and Member of the Minister of Housing NSW Ministerial Advisory Board (2006 -2008).

Martin’s expertise in both housing and the property industry also led to his appointment by the NSW Government as a Commissioner for the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel for the Currawong site at Pittwater (2008) and the Ministerial Review Panel for the proposed listing of the Currawong site on the NSW State Heritage Register (2008).

Martin continues to be a strong and persistent advocate for the development of affordable housing policy and the delivery of affordable housing. He is now actively involved in guiding and supporting local councils in the development of their own affordable housing strategies that incentivise private developers to provide below market-rate housing for essential workers. Martin has also more recently taken a pro bono position on an advisory board for a disability housing provider, AccessAccom.

A major outcome of Martin’s innovation and dedication to this field has been an incremental increase in affordable housing stock over 20 years and a public awareness of this growing need.

Contribution to the Property Industry: Education

Whether it is aspiring young athletes or property professionals, Martin has always sought to mentor and develop the next generation. Martin’s dedication to education is exemplified by his 30-year commitment to teaching a range of topic areas including development feasibility and strategy, financial modelling and benchmarks, economic impact, cost benefit analysis and complex property valuations.

His commitment to education is also illustrated by his frequency as a lecturer at various institutions including the University of Sydney (USYD), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Martin’s passion for education aligned with his professional career allowing him to create a partnership program with 32 universities. This free program provided online training in property economics and practical application via his software (Estate Master) to students as part of their real estate finance / property economics studies.

Martin’s ongoing commitment to education is epitomised by his annual scholarship to a UTS student. The scholarship seeks to encourage academic excellence in the Master of Property Development or Graduate Diploma of Property Development. It is the only award to emphasise property development feasibility analysis, and to provide an opportunity for a student to gain insight into the day-to-day operation of the property development profession. The scholarship holder is given a financial contribution towards their studies as well as the offer of a full-time role and mentoring in Martin’s property advisory firm, HillPDA.

Martin’s significant contribution to innovation in the property industry and his dedication to the education of professionals led to his receipt of the UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2018 – Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.

Martin’s service to the property sector and outstanding achievements as a UTS Luminary in turn led to the Chancellor of UTS, Catherine Livingstone AO selecting him for the overarching UTS Chancellor’s Award for Excellence 2018.

Contribution to Australian Sailing

In his personal capacity, Martin has not only been an active competitor in the sport of sailing, but most importantly a critical patron and supporter of its emerging talent.

In 2005 Martin became one of the first patrons of the Australian Sailing Team. As patron, Martin not only financially contributed to the team’s successful Olympic campaigns in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 but to the remarkable achievements of individual athletes including Malcolm Page OAM (Gold 470 Class 2008, 2012), Nathan Outterridge OAM (Gold 2012, Silver 2016), Tom Slingsby OAM (Gold 2012) and Mathew Belcher (multiple World Championships; Olympic Gold 2012; Silver 2016). Martin’s support and encouragement has enabled many people to represent Australia at the highest levels and then importantly, successfully transition to life post being an elite athlete.

Whilst serving as Commodore of Middle Harbour Yacht Club (2007 – 2010) Martin also successfully negotiated the establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport’s National High-Performance Centre at the local club creating a single, integrated base for the Olympic Team. This inspiration for the local youth led Martin to reintroduce the youth sailing programme (boys and girls aged 7 to 12) into the community with Martin contributing to funding equipment for the juniors.

In 2006 Martin launched an international program to support the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Youth Academy, providing an ongoing basis for Academy youngsters through the Estate Master Sailing Team. The revolutionary programme takes 18 to 25-year-old sailors through the academy and on to represent their country in highly competitive one class design sailing. Martin also played an important role in the continued success of Sailability, a program designed to give better access to the sport to people with a disability.

Martin has achieved significant success in the sport of sailing in his own right competing in seven World Championships (securing gold in the Etchells in 2018; silver in the Farr 40’s in 2014 and gold in the World Masters Games Sailing Taser 45+ 2009) and four national championships. Martin has also served the sport as national and International President of the Farr 40 Class (2010 to 2017) and National President of the Sydney 38 Class (2003 – 2006). Most recently Martin was awarded the 2019 Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Yachtsman of the Year and MHYC International Yachtsman of Year 2018.

On receiving his appointment as a Member of Order Australia, Martin said :

“Efficient communities, towns and cities are incredibly important to the future of Australia and making it easier for all those involved in this process is one of the reasons why I founded HillPDA.

“I am incredibly humbled by this recognition, but it couldn’t be possible without the amazing team here at HillPDA to leave no stone unturned in delivering for our clients in improving our communities, towns and cities”.

Summary of Positions, Qualifications and Awards in the Property Industry

  • Founding Director, Hill PDA Consulting (1990 – present)
  • Founding CEO and Chairman, EstateMaster Property Software (2002 to 2016)
  • Commissioner, Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel for the Currawong site at Pittwater (2008)
  • Member, Ministerial Review Panel for the proposed listing of the Currawong site at Pittwater on the State Heritage Register (2008)
  • UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2018 – Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building
  • UTS Chancellor’s Award for Excellence 2018
  • Fellow, Australian Property Institute
  • Certified Property Valuer
  • RAPI Award for Excellence in Planning – Rose Bay (2001)
  • RAPI Award for Excellence in Planning – Double Bay (2003)
  • Darling Harbour East Masterplan Design Award (2006)
  • Five Dock Town Centre, Planning Award (2013)

Affordable Housing

  • Director, Minister of Housing NSW Ministerial Advisory Board (2007 – 2008)
  • Director, Kingston Foreshore Development Authority Board (1999 – 2004)
  • Member, NSW Ministerial Affordable Housing Taskforce (1996)
  • Member, South Sydney Development Corporation Green Square Marketing Advisory Group (1997 – 1999)

Education Posts

  • Various academic posts with the University of Sydney (USYD), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and University of New South Wales (UNSW)
  • University of New South Wales Masters of Urban Policy and Strategy (MUPS) Development Economics and Finance Lecturer 2014
  • Sydney University 1990-92 Master of Land Economy (Land Economy III)
  • University of Technology Sydney Master of Built Environment 1990-96 (Property Economics 1 & III)
  • University of Technology Sydney Urban Estate Management 1990-95 (Property Economics 1 & III; Property Development I & III; Property Finance)
  • University of New South Wales Masters of Real Estate 1996-1998

Summary of Positions and Awards in Sailing

  • International President, Farr 40 Class (2010 to 2017)
  • Patron of the Australian Sailing Team and associated Olympic Campaigns (2006 – 2012)
  • Commodore, Middle Harbour Yacht Club, Sydney (2007 – 2010)
  • President, Sydney 38 Class (2003 – 2006)
  • President, Junior Offshore Australian Champion (2000 – 2002)
  • Australian Champion Sydney 38 Class (2006)
  • Gold Medal Sydney 2009 World Masters Games Sailing Tasar 45+
  • Silver medal Farr 40 World Championships San Francisco USA (2014)
  • Australian Champion Farr 40 Class (2017 and 2018)
  • New Zealand National Champion Etchells Class (2017 & 2018)
  • Cowes Week UK Winner Etchells Class 2018
  • World Champion, Sailing Etchells Class Brisbane (2018)
  • 2018 MHYC International Yachtsman of the Year
  • 2019 Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Yachtsman of the Year.

Further Examples of Community Leadership

  • Chairman Blessed Sacrament Parish Council 1994 -1996
  • President of Loreto Rowing Association 1999 – 2000
  • President of the Parent Group for Riverview Rowing 2000 – 2001
  • Sponsor to CYCA Youth Academy 2005 – 2008
  • Patron of Australian Sailing Team 2005 – 2012
  • Pro Bono Advisory Board Member to Disability Provider AccessAccom

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