30 November 2020

Project Independence proves ROI to government with new KPMG report

| Sharon Kelley
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Glenn Keys

Project Independence Chair Glenn Keys AO launches the KPMG Report at Government House. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

A new report released by KPMG shows Project Independence homes return around four dollars to the ACT Government for each dollar invested via land packages.

Project Independence founder and chairman Glenn Keys launched the report at Government House with Project Independence patron Governor-General David Hurley during a thank-you function for sponsors.

The report compares the return on investment from Project Independence homes against three other possible options for providing a home to people with an intellectual disability: continuing to live with their family or carers, living in public housing, or living in community housing.

For every dollar the ACT Government has invested (as land grants to Project Independence to build homes on), the return on investment is significantly higher than any other social housing model.

Mr Keys said the report is important in informing the ACT Government’s decision making on how to use land to the best advantage, and establishing exactly what the return on investment on land grants is from a Project Independence home.

He said it’s an essential part of showing the government that their support of Project Independence is sound.

“We know there are a lot of demands on the government for land. It’s difficult for them to pick the right one to choose, how do they know they’re getting the best bang for their buck?” said Mr Keys.

David and Linda Hurley, Kathryn and Leonie Rodwell, and Glenn Keys

Governor-General David Hurley AC DSC and Her Excellency with Project Independence resident Kathryn Rodwell and her mother Leonie Rodwell and Project Independence Chairman Glenn Keys AO. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

“I don’t have a problem with that as a taxpayer, and resident of the ACT,” he said.

“I also want to make sure the government is making the best use of their land and funds, and to make sure the government is a good steward of those assets.

“When they make the decision about how to use land, Project Independence can say – compared to anyone else – we’ve done our homework. It’s thought out, studied, independently valued to show the return on investment, and a Project Independence home returns almost $4 for every dollar the government invests.

“I’ve always approached Project Independence like I approach my business,” said Mr Keys.

“It has to be evidence-based, financially viable and sustainable. What we felt was that it was important, rather than saying ‘we save you a lot of money’, we put up the figures to prove it.

“We believe that if we’re going to ask sponsors, government and charities or investors such as Social Ventures Australia to support us, we have a responsibility to show them what we’re doing with their resources and that it’s having both a financial and social benefit,” said Mr Keys.

“We’ve built 20 homes with Project Independence, and we’re starting the next 10 now in Phillip.

“For the 10 units we’re about to start building, we have 52 people on the waiting list. There is such manifest demand for this service.

“We’ve looked at all the areas of savings to the government, capital, and operating, compared to what other community and public housing costs.

“Then there’s a whole bunch of stuff that isn’t quantified, like the quality of life for our residents, cost savings from the disability support pension when our residents become independent and find work. Then there’s the value of their work and their contribution to the economy, and the assurance to carers that their children now have a stable home,” said Mr Keys.

The report will be made available online on the Project Independence website.

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