UDIA meets with Minister for Housing

UDIA CEO Allison Hailes and President Nick Allingame met with the Hon. Peter Tinley Minister for Housing on Monday to discuss a range of issues impacting on the development industry in WA.

Items for discussion included the State’s proposed Affordable Housing Action Plan; delivery of precincts near new train stations under METRONET and our concerns regarding value capture; leveraging state land assets for delivering affordable housing; the need to progress the introduction of a medium density planning code as a priority; the proposed apartment guidelines and severe impacts on affordability; along with information on two new UDIA research projects that will impact on the housing portfolio.

UDIA reiterated the importance of consulting with the development industry to ensure that the actions proposed under the new affordable housing plan are achievable.  The government says that the plan will aim to deliver improved connections between people, place and home; real and enduring affordability for those on low to moderate income; earlier and more connected housing and support services; creation of diverse precincts that will include options for low income earners; and diversity of options to meet a diversity of need.

More information on the proposed action plan will be released in mid-2018 and the Minister has offered to provide UDIA with a briefing soon.

John Carey MLA attends UDIA Council meeting

UDIA was pleased to host Member for Perth and Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Lands John Carey MLA as a guest at our state council meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Carey shared his views on a range of industry related issues including Design WA, precinct planning, strata reform, government agency reform and ensuring the roles and responsibilities of local and state government agencies are clear. Mr Carey was very clear in his understanding of the key issues impacting on UDIA members. It was encouraging to note that the state government is very aware of UDIA’s message and key priorities moving forward.

Items on the Council agenda also included the establishment of a UDIA Advisory Committee on the Perth and Peel sub regional frameworks. The committee will review all the documents in detail and identify any gaps along with developing a strategy to present to the state government on how we would like to see them move forward on this issue. UDIA will also be formally writing to the new Chair of the WAPC seeking clarity on shaded areas within the frameworks. UDIA Councillor Jane Bennett will chair the advisory committee.

New UDIA National CEO visits WA

Newly appointed UDIA National CEO Kirk Conningham visited WA this week and met with state council to discuss key policy matters at a national level.

He advised that the key areas that UDIA is advocating include:

  • Payment of GST in the development industry
  • Negative gearing and Capital Gains tax regimes
  • National Building Code changes
  • National population position / settlement plan
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act issues

Future of lightweight construction in Perth

UDIA hosted an engaging discussion on the future of lightweight and alternative construction materials at our Industry Breakfast on Wednesday morning.

The event featured presentations on the practical aspects of building with different materials from head of HERA Engineering Matteo Tera   ,who provided a range of international examples, primarily using mass timber panels and Modan Director Arun Broadhurst speaking about his experiences in Perth, in particular on his 119 Gabriel project in the City of Belmont.

The case studies discussed during the two presentations were followed by an interactive panel session featuring experts from a diverse range of fields, expertly facilitated by Marie Mills.  The overall message that resulted from this session was that as technology and innovation moves forward, there is definitely a place for new and alternative building products in WA.  The housing and development industry is already moving (albeit slowly) into using more alternative products, particularly to address affordability and to be able to build on more diverse lot types, however there are still challenges and issues to address.

Some of the key messages from the panellists included:

  • Consumers want a diversity of choice and industry needs to work together to deliver those options
  • There is still a significant place for brick construction but we can evolve to encompass more diversity
  • Collaboration is important to achieving quality outcomes
  • Communication and education of consumers to understand alternative products is necessary to get them to accept new innovations and products – in a nutshell they need to understand that alternative or lightweight does not mean ‘cheap and nasty’
  • New products pose an opportunity to address affordability
  • Moving away from only delivering ‘A Class’ lots to the market and being able to build on different lots with alternative products could be the way of the future in WA

UDIA is initiating a comprehensive research project looking into the costs and impacts of brick housing construction in WA and the opportunity for change.

Further to the panel discussion at the event, James Hardie have provided two case studies on alternative building products in Western Australia.

Find a case study on Aveling Homes – Skinnies here

A case study on Thompson Sustainable Homes – Wright Street Townhouses here

Westport report released

The Westport Taskforce released the consultation report ‘Westport: What you have told us’ yesterday, which outlines the community feedback received during the first round of consultation on the development of the Westport: Ports and Environs Strategy.

Based on the feedback, Westport has identified 10 packages of research categories that will be pursued for the Westport Strategy. These include factors relating to future port facilities such as location, size, operating model and timing.

UDIA will be examining the consultation report in detail to ensure industry concerns have been addressed.  In the meantime, we are pleased to have been appointed to the Taskforce Reference Group in order to effectively represent our members on this project moving forward.

The consultation report is available at http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/westport

Work on SAPPR suspended

As we advised in a member alert on Monday, the state government has suspended work on the Strategic Assessment of Perth and Peel (SAPPR) to produce a Green Growth Plan for the region. UDIA is supportive of this move and more details on our position can be found in our Member Alert here.

Labor pledges more funds to WA infrastructure

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is currently in WA to visit a number of marginal Labor seats. During his visit he has made several financial promises regarding major infrastructure funding including $64 million for the Stephenson Avenue extension over Mitchell Freeway to Cedric Street which matches the $60 million committed by the state government for the project in last year’s budget.

The funding commitment comes from Labor’s $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA fund, which is supposed to act as an infrastructure top up fund that brings WA’s GST share up to the equivalent of 70c.

Labor’s response to WA’s GST shortfall has been heavily criticised by industry groups including the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI WA).  CCI WA says that it has modelled the ‘Fair Share for WA Fund’ in the context of the state’s most recent GST share of 47 cents. The modelling shows that if Federal Labor’s GST Fund was enacted today at 47 cents, WA would receive its ‘fair share’ for just one year and one day.

UDIA supports CCI’s previous recommendation for a transition path to implement reasonable equalisation that would ensure no state is worse off over the forward estimates. This would require $5 billion over three years.

Micro lots officially launched in Ellenbrook

The Hon. Peter Tinley AM, MLA Minister for Housing; Veterans Issues; Youth launched WA’s first Micro Lot Housing Project on green title lots under 100m² in Ellenbrook on Wednesday. The project is a collaboration between residential homebuilder Now Living and the developers of Ellenbrook, a joint venture between the Department of Communities and a LWP Property Group Syndicate.

The industry launch comes after the WA State Planning Commission (WAPC) released a draft position statement for Housing on Lots less than 100m2 at UDIA’s Industry Breakfast last month. The statement is currently out for comment and more details can be found here.

As part of the position statement, WAPC provided approval for the release of smaller sized lots in Ellenbrook, similar to other successful developments in SA and QLD.

Planning for Bushfire prone areas fact sheet – comments welcome

State Planning Policy 3.7: Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (SPP3.7) is the overarching policy for planning control and guidance in bushfire prone areas. The associated Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas provide detailed guidance on the application of SPP3.7.

The fact sheet on planning for bushfire prone areas aims to articulate the different issues faced by local governments and how a bushfire assessment should be undertaken as part of the preparation of a local planning strategy.

Feedback on the draft fact sheet is sought and UDIA will be making a submission on behalf of members.  If you would like to contribute to our submission, please forward comment to policy@udiawa.com.au by COB on 7 May 2018.  More information on the draft can be found here.


New index of biodiversity surveys for assessments

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will launch the Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments (IBSA) next month.  The index will capture the biodiversity data collected to inform assessments and compliance under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, and provide a platform to make this information publicly accessible.

The initiative is in line with the State Government’s Open Data Policy and is also a response to the low level of availability of biodiversity data in Western Australia, as highlighted by the Environmental Protection Authority in its 2016-17 Annual Report.

Download an information brochure on the new index here.

BCEC Quarterly Economic Commentary cautiously optimistic

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) have released their quarterly economic commentary providing an update and analysis of the latest economic and social indicators for WA. It is fair to say the commentary is cautiously positive about WA’s economic position, with business investment up 0.9% for the December 2017 quarter, construction work up 1.7% and household consumption also up 0.6%.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Latest dwelling finance and building approvals data released

Across the nation, the total value of dwelling commitments excluding alterations and additions (trend) rose 0.2% in February 2018 compared with January 2018, and the seasonally adjusted series rose 1.0% in February 2018 according to the latest data from the ABS.

In WA, the number of commitments is down 0.4% for the month.  Full data here.

The trend estimate for total number of dwelling units approved in Western Australia fell 4.4% in February and has fallen for five months. The trend estimate for the number of private sector houses fell 0.5% in February and has fallen for nine months.

Full data here.

TPG + Place Match now ‘element’

Following the departure of David Caddy to take up the position of Chairman of WAPC, UDIA member organisation TPG + Placematch have launched a new name – element.

We congratulate element on the launch of a ‘new era’.