The Urban Taskforce today has announced the appointment of Tom Forrest as its incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr Forrest will formally commence in the role on 11 November 2019, succeeding longstanding CEO Chris Johnson who will retire after 8 years at the helm.

Peter Daly, Chair of the Urban Taskforce, said Mr Forrest has a proven track record as a public policy expert and solutions-focused industry advisor, with specific expertise in planning and urban development matters.

‘On behalf of the Urban Taskforce Executive Committee and membership, I congratulate Tom on his appointment and look forward to his commencement in the role,’ Mr Daly said.

‘Tom comes to the organisation with a wealth of public and private sector planning and policymaking experience, and an intimate grasp of how to shape balanced policy outcomes that support sensible and sustainable urban growth.

‘He was a trusted advisor to various NSW Ministers (Premier, Treasurer, Planning, Health and Olympics) before joining the senior ranks of the public service in the key Department of Premier and Cabinet and Transport portfolios. More recently, Tom assisted private sector clients, including commercial and residential developers, navigate often complex regulatory landscapes.

‘The development industry is currently facing a range of public policy and perception challenges, and its role as a key driver of economic growth has, in recent times, been diminished. We believe Tom has the right background, experience and energy to advocate strongly and effectively for the industry in an increasingly complicated space.’


Mr Forrest said he was delighted to take on this leading advocacy role at a time when Sydney, and indeed the NSW and Australian economies, needs a consensus approach to housing supply.

‘Developers deliver not only our housing supply, but also economic multipliers for the community in the form of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and taxes that support the growth of cities and economies. This needs to be more prominently acknowledged,’ Mr Forrest said.

‘A strong and consistent supply of quality new housing and apartments will deliver improvements in residential amenity, sustainability through smart design and technology, and housing affordability.

“The key challenge is to work co-operatively with Government and community stakeholders towards a constructive approach to enabling this growth, in a way that complements recent substantial investments in public transport and roads infrastructure”, Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said he takes on the role with a strong desire for an evidence-based policy approach to housing supply and development.

The Urban Taskforce represents the top 100 development companies and equity financiers in Australia and represents the industry on policy formulation, responses to Government policy, the state of the planning system and the impact of the taxation regime on the future housing and apartment supply for Sydney.

Mr Daly acknowledged the outstanding contribution Chris Johnson has made as CEO of the Urban Taskforce since 2011.

“Chris has been an excellent and prominent advocate for our members and has led the organisation with distinction. We look forward to him remaining a friend and supporter of the Urban Taskforce well into the future.’

Mr Forrest and Mr Johnson will work together as part of a CEO transition process starting 11 November as the handover date.


For Comment on Tom Forrest’s appointment ring The Hon. Secretary / Treasurer David Tanevski on 0412888755.

Tom Forrest


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