Tim Gurner, CEO of Gurner Group, has apologised for his “deeply insensitive” comments made at the AFR Property Summit earlier this week.
The AFR video of Gurner discussing the need for unemployment to rise and that people have been “paid a lot to do not too much” shared on X (formerly Twitter) has been viewed, as of writing, 25.2 million times and shared by high profile people including New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In Gruner’s response to the backlash, he said in a statement: “At the AFR Property Summit this week, I made some remarks about unemployment and productivity in Australia that I deeply regret and were wrong.
“There are clearly important conversations to have in this environment of high inflation, pricing pressures on housing and rentals due to a lack of supply, and other cost of living issues. My comments were deeply insensitive to employees, tradies and families across Australia who are affected by these cost-of-living pressures and job losses.
“I want to be clear: I do appreciate that when someone loses their job, it has a profound impact on them and their families, and I sincerely regret that my words did not convey empathy for those in that situation.”
AFR reporter Mark Di Stefano has tackled the attention the clip has garnered online, reminding readers of Gurner’s privilege. He noted that Gurner previously made headlines for suggesting people should eat less brunch if they wanted a stake in the property market – yes, he is the original Avocado Toast Guy.
Di Stefano also highlighted that Gurner revealed in an interview with 60 Minutes in 2017 that he bought his first apartment in St Kilda apartment for $180k, with the help of his boss at the time.
“My first investment property was an apartment bought for $180k in St Kilda and I was fortunate enough to have my boss at the time approach me to renovate it while he fronted up the money,” Gurner said, as reported by news.com.au at the time.
Gurner then went on to explain after selling the property and making $12,000 in profit. He made a business proposal to his grandfather which got him an additional $34,000, which he then used to get a $150,000 loan to buy a gym that was renovated and later sold.
Di Stefano called out Gurner, and said: “Of course! Because it’s a tale stitched into the fabric of the Australian dream. The lump sum inheritance, or the familial guarantor. The financial backstop that’s always there in every story, though never in the headline. They are the foundational facts that are glazed over in the origin stories of Australia’s over-levered property wunderkinds.”
“Tim Gurner encapsulates all the fears that regular people have of the property industry. That when landlords and property developers go into functions and hotel ballrooms, they all privately gripe about the ungrateful serfs. But the mask didn’t slip here. Timbo ripped it off.”
Top image: Tim Gurner