One of Australia’s richest property developers blasts ‘closed for business’ Sydney in fiery speech

Sep 8, 2022

  • Harry Triguboff slammed Sydney’s ‘big problem’ with gaining approval for builds
  • The billionaire property developer spoke at a Chamber of Commerce lunch
  • Mr Triguboff said Sydney was ‘closed for business’ as he set his sights on QLD
  • Other developers and investors echoed the Meriton Group founder’s views


One of Australia’s richest men has joined a chorus of property developers and CEOs in slamming Sydney for how difficult it’s become to build in the harbour city.

Founder of Meriton Group, Harry Triguboff, spoke about the struggle with developing in Sydney at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s lunch on Wednesday.

Mr Triguboff said he had now set his sights squarely on Queensland, declaring Sydney was ‘closed for business’.

‘At present you cannot build in the state of New South Wales. I promise you. If I can’t, nobody can,’ the billionaire property developer said.

Mr Triguboff blamed his difficulties on red tape and NSW councils being stringent with approvals.

‘If (councils) want buildings to continue at the right rate, they have to approve property,’ he said.

‘With the prices increasing or rising the way they are. I think that people will go a lot more quickly.

‘The way I built so many apartments in Sydney for so many years is because sometimes you have a good council, sometimes you have a good planning boss.’

Mr Triguboff said many councils were bending to the whims and wishes of residents, who did not want apartment blocks taking up space in their neighbourhoods.

But the property developer insisted building more apartment blocks was the only foreseeable ‘way out’ of the city’s issue with housing.

It comes just weeks after he said drastic measures needed to be taken to increase the number of units being approved in Sydney.

Meriton Group currently builds around 2000 apartments in Sydney every year, but Mr Triguboff said that figure would drop drastically as approvals slow.

The Meriton Group founder said local governments were bending to pressure from residents who did not want to see giant apartment blocks in their neighbourhoods.

The real estate tycoon has now set his sights on his Queensland, where getting approval for new builds was easier

He argued the government should welcome back foreign buyers and reduce fees on apartments.

The real estate tycoon predicts that by 2024 only 4500 units will be approved across Sydney.

By comparison, he said the ‘situation’ in Queensland was going ‘very well’, as the sunshine state also faced similar problems with rentals.

Mr Triguboff claimed getting approvals for new builds was easier because prices in Brisbane had remained relatively stable for the past ten years.

The billionaire’s views were echoed by other property developers and business leaders at the lunch.

Chief Executive Officer of Cbus Property, Adrian Pozzo, cited long wait times when it came down to planning and approving builds.

‘You can put these (developments) in front of councils and it normally takes two to three years (to be approved),’ he said.