Image source: Multiplex
Cbus, a construction industry superannuation fund is said to have $2.5b ready to inject back into the industry through projects including social housing and backing Australian-owned companies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Kristian Fok, Cbus Chief Investment Officer, said the fund plans to facilitate the rebuilding of a sustainable economy in the wake of the crisis and aims to assist those dramatically impacted in the hospitality, tourism and education industries.
Fok said that Cbus will also look to invest in projects backed by state governments, including the Bright Energy renewables joint venture in Western Australia and affordable housing financed by the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
Cbus has an estimated $51.8b to invest. This number stands after their share prices fell by 30% due to the pandemic’s financial effect on the economy, which it invests on behalf of workers in the construction industry.
“We would like to see, if we’re going to invest any money, that it’s not just about a short-term sugar hit, that they’re things that are going to help us move to the sustainable economy that we need to position ourselves in,” Fok said.
It is reported that the fund has money ready to spend over the next six months as Australia’s lockdown rules loosen, which have been one of the major causes of economic instability across the nation.
The construction industry makes up the majority of the super fund’s membership base, which has resulted in fewer withdrawals from members compared to other industry-related funds specialising in hospitality or sales.
Cbus has stated that their main priority now is to save more businesses and jobs from collapsing.
“Strong businesses that have got cashflow problems because of the shutdown but remain, in the long term, high-quality businesses, are now seeking to recapitalise,” said Fok.
While working on a suite of supportive projects to rebuild Australia’s economy, Cbus is also looking into offering direct lending, investing in climate change initiatives, and constructing housing for Australians who receive NDIS benefits.
The generosity does not stop there. Cbus is looking further into the future, to work with the federal and state governments on infrastructural projects such as public transport links from Melbourne Airport to the CBD.
“Clearly in the short term there’s probably not going to be that much demand but it does actually take some time to build.” said Fok.
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