From the CEO

Watchdog. Regulator. Ombudsman. (Self-appointment doesn’t count).

They are all professional sticklers for the rules. The first rule of regulation is ‘do no harm’. Just because governments can regulate doesn’t mean they should. I will leave it to you to consider whether the vast amount of regulation imposed on the development industry does or does not break the first rule. The rules should also be fit for purpose. Regulation that becomes ‘set and forget’ is likely to disconnect from the intended purpose over time.

This week, UDIA WA met with the leads of the Federal Government’s Nature Positive Taskforce (that’s the Utopia name for the EPBC Act Review). It was an encouraging and refreshing conversation about striking the right balance between environment and industry needs in the context of protection and conservation of our natural assets.

One of the interesting observations made was that the profession of being a regulator is one that has been historically driven by learning through osmosis from those that have developed their own established set of behaviours, perspectives and cultural norms over many years. They could be productive or counter-productive. If it’s the latter, those regulated entities bear the scars of dealing with excessive regulatory burden and disproportionate risk management.

Regulator best practice principle number 1 is about continuous improvement and building trust. Regulators should adopt a whole of system perspective rather than a narrow, siloed view of the impact of their decisions. Best practice principle number 3 is that regulators be transparent and responsive communicators, implementing regulations in a modern and collaborative way.

In many cases, the rules aren’t necessarily the issue. It’s how they are applied. Given they are mostly applied by human beings, behavioural differences that we all have make consistent application a little tricky. That’s why investing in public sector culture and capability is so important and something that UDIA WA fully supports.

Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for breakfast. I reckon culture eats regulation for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So before we serve up a fresh set of rules, lets focus on ensuring the cultural approach to rolling them out means they are well digested.

Latest Planning Reform measures including Medium Density Code announced

Earlier this week UDIA WA welcomed the State Government’s announcement in relation to the latest raft of planning reforms. These changes continue to improve planning and approvals systems and help to facilitate the much-needed delivery of housing to the market.

As of 1 March 2024, several changes to WA’s planning system come into effect, including:

  • The new Metro Inner, Metro Outer and Regional Development Assessment Panels will become operational.
  • The new Significant Development Pathway for projects valued $20 million or more in Perth/ Peel and $5 million in the regions will become operational.
  • Online lodgement and tracking of applications will be available.

Other changes that will come into effect in the coming weeks and months include:

  • Reforms to the Western Australian Planning Commission.
  • Establishment of the new State Referral Coordination Unit.

Importantly, State Planning Policy 7.3 Residential Design Codes has been finalised and will be released in early March and become operational in early April.

Following extensive advocacy by UDIA WA on behalf of industry, the new ‘Part C’ of the State Planning Policy 7.3 that refers to medium density development, has been amended to remove single homes coded R30 and R40.

The Minister has confirmed that existing standards from the R-Codes Volume 1 will continue to apply for single homes coded R40 and below.

While UDIA WA is yet to see the detailed policy and regulations, we are pleased with the Minister’s assurance that the changes have been made in line with our advocacy.

For more information, read our member alert in full here, our media release here or the State Government Media release here.

UDIA also provided commentary to inform The West Australian here and here, Business News here and the Australian Property Investor Magazine here regarding this announcement.

Policy Team in Action 

On Tuesday morning, UDIA WA met with Maya Stuart-Fox (Minister Plibersek’s Deputy Chief of Staff), James Tregurtha (Division Head, Nature Positive Taskforce) and Carmen Dwyer (Head of the EPA Transition Taskforce) from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water to discuss the Nature Positive Reforms from the perspective of development within Western Australia.

It was a great opportunity to get an update on how the reform process is progressing and to discuss UDIA’s previous submissions and further considerations from the perspective of our members, particularly around their experiences with the Federal approvals process and the interaction with the State process.

On Tuesday afternoon, UDIA WA met with representatives from the Premier’s Office and Western Power as part of our regular engagement to discuss the ongoing work to address delays in the approvals process. Key initiatives such as early clearances, the new DCR clearance process and DIP self-service were all discussed, and we look forward to providing an update shortly.

On Thursday afternoon, UDIA presented to the Residential Lands & Housing Ministerial Oversight Committee. The focus of the presentation was on the nature of the current housing crisis and priorities for government.

This included discussion of the National Housing Pipeline Perth and Peel results which showed significant shortfalls in projected supply of land and housing, as well as highlighting components of UDIA WA’s Pre-Budget Submission which would help in expediting enabling infrastructure in growth areas in addition to focusing on the constraints currently preventing an increase in supply of apartments within infill growth areas.

Expression of Interest – DAP Specialist Members

As a key component of planning reform in Western Australia, enhancements are being made to the DAP system, including to Specialist Members.

Three specialist members will be retained on each panel meeting with the Presiding Member to be one of these members. However, the Specialist Members will be appointed as one of a pool of ‘Regular’ Specialist Members or a pool of ‘Sessional’ Specialist Members.

Suitably qualified people are now being invited to apply for specialist membership on DAPs for an appointment term of up to five years.

The Expression of Interest document released as part of the advertising process has full details of the Specialist Member positions including scope, eligibility criteria and remuneration. The Expression of Interest document and application details are available on the DAP website here. Applications close on Sunday 18 February 2024 at 11:59am.

For any enquiries regarding these positions or the EOI process, please contact Ryan Keys, Executive Director DAPs on 6551 8051 or

New chief executive officer appointed for Keystart

This week the State Government announced the appointment of Mark Tomasz as Chief Executive Officer of Keystart.

An extensive internal and external recruitment process was conducted by the Keystart Board and Mr Tomasz brings a wealth of knowledge and more than 20 years’ experience in financial services.

Mr Tomasz has held several senior executive positions at HSBC, successfully managing large lending portfolios and leading teams across Asia, the UK and Latin America.

Originally from Perth, he has previously held positions at Wesfarmers, Telstra and Westpac and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Mr Tomasz succeeds Mr Paul Graham, who was recently appointed as CEO of Gold Corporation.

Latest stats unveiled

The latest edition of UDIA WA’s Urban Intelligence, our monthly round up of the latest stats and facts impacting the urban development industry was released yesterday to members.

This monthly publication is available exclusively to UDIA WA members bringing together the latest updates from our weekly Land Snapshot, exclusive CoreLogic and Landgate data plus the latest findings from the ABS, RBA and much more.

The January 2024 edition also includes a feature article written by UDIA WA and National Executive Manager Research Toby Adams wherein Toby looks at the rate of WA’s growing population and whether we can house everybody looking to live in WA.

To read the latest edition, click here.

We would like to thank our Principal Research Partners CoreLogic, Landgate and Urbis for their support in producing these exclusive member research publications.

Industry luncheon registrations close tonight!

Over 400 attendees will join us for our first Industry Luncheon for 2024 as we take a deep dive look into ‘Constructing with Confidence’ and how we can build capacity in a perfect storm.

The largest handbrake stifling housing supply in WA is construction costs and sector capacity. When will floundering feasibilities make a comeback and what do developers need to be forecasting in 2024?

Register by COB today to find out.  Book here.

Presenters include John Bennett, Senior Leader of Construction Cost Estimation at CoreLogic; Tiffany Allen, Chief Executive Officer at the Construction Training Fund; Dale Alcock, Managing Director at ABN Group and Richard Pappas, Managing Director at Celsius Developments and UDIA WA President.

Eligible attendees can receive 1.5 REBA CPD points. To claim these points email your license type and number to by 22 February.

We pass our thanks onto Construction Training Fund, DevelopmentWA, Mirvac, WINconnect and Networking Partner for their support of this event.

Declining building approvals a blow to ambitions to ease housing crisis

Today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics data on declining building approvals is a blow for Australia’s ambitions to ease the housing crisis and build the National Accord Target of 1.2m homes within 5 years according to UDIA National’s latest media release.

“This is the worst time to see building approvals declining and reflects the extent of the task ahead to start driving housing supply and take pressure off prices and rents,” said Col
Dutton, UDIA National President.

While the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and the National Housing Accord will build about 10,000 houses a year (annualised), we need the industry to deliver 240,000
houses a year which means we need approximately 262,000 annual approvals to realise this number of new homes, which is 46% higher than the long-run average volumes
achieved since 2000.

The lion’s share of the delivery depends on private housing providers and we need to put in place measures that ramp up productivity and land supply. Today’s numbers show
there is plenty of work to be done by Federal Government to incentivise and support state and territory action that boosts housing supply over a sustained period.

“We need the entire market to be able to access streamlined planning that, at the very minimum cuts approval times and processes in half, implements efficient environmental
approvals, rapid conversion of zoned land to development ready land and introduces incentives that support those delivering housing to viably increase affordable housing,”
said Mr Dutton.

UDIA is working closely with all spheres of government to drive change that can result in homes built for all Australians.
Key Facts:

  • ABS dwelling approval figures released today provide December 2023 numbers and allows for analysis of the complete 2023 calendar year.
  • Total approvals fell 9.5% in December driven by a 22% decline in multi-unit approvals (seasonally adjusted).
  • The on-going weakness of the unit market is underscored by a 20% decline in approvals on a rolling 12-month basis, with current monthly approval volumes 34% lower than the long run average.
  • The total volume of approvals achieved in the 2023 calendar year is the lowest in a decade, with a total of 160,700 approvals (trend) which is 11% lower the annual average achieved since 2000.
  • The Federal Government’s target of 1.2 million new homes over the next five years will require an average of 262,000 approvals a year – a volume never achieved in Australia and an alarming 63% higher than the approvals achieved in 2023.

Inflation drops sharply in December

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed a sharp fall in inflation in December with the National Inflation level dropping to 4.1% and the WA level dropping to 3.6%.

The greater than expected fall has led to many economists suggesting this could signal the end of interest rate hikes with a potential cut earmarked for as early as June this year.

The decline in Perth’s year-ended inflation rate was underpinned by slowing price growth across a range of sub-indices – including food, housing, transport, clothing and footwear, furnishing and household equipment, as well as recreation and culture.

Growth in the Perth CPI has more than halved since its peak in December quarter 2022 and is now increasing at is slowest pace in more than two years.

Vendor Week 2024 starts tomorrow

Vendor Week officially runs from 2nd-15th February and is an annual celebration of the vendors that sell The Big Issue magazine.

It’s a chance to acknowledge the dedication, resilience, and strength of magazine vendors, who have all experienced tough times but are #ProudlyWorking to earn an income, reconnect with the community and change their lives.

Vendors come to The Big Issue magazine from a wide range of circumstances, including homelessness, long-term unemployment, disability, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown and more. Vendors buy magazines for $4.50 each and sell them for $9, earning a meaningful income. Since The Big Issue began in 1996 more than 14 million magazines have been sold, helping more than 7,500 vendors earn a collective $38 million.

UDIA WA is proud to partner with Homes for Homes which is run by the Big Issue and we are pleased to support initiatives such as Vendor Week. Make sure to buy a special edition Vendor Week magazine and support this very worthy cause.

For more information, click here.

2024 Partnership Opportunities

As we kick start the new year, maximise your organisation’s brand exposure across key industry sectors by taking advantage of the various sponsorship and advertising opportunities available with UDIA WA.

Sponsors and advertisers gain extensive exposure alongside UDIA WA’s prominent and well received events and publications.  Our team will work with you to curate the best possible package to meet your needs.  From a one-off advertisement to annual sponsorship, find something that suits your budget and strategic objectives with UDIA WA.

For information about how you can align your business with UDIA WA through a range of opportunities, click here for our advertising opportunities and here for our full sponsorship prospectus.

Refer a new member and save!

UDIA WA are providing an opportunity for our members to receive 25% off the cost of a table booking to an Industry Lunch or Breakfast.

The discount is available to members that refer a new company to become a member with UDIA WA, however the discount is only available if the referred company joins by 29 February 2024.

The 25% discount is applicable to a table booking for a UDIA WA Industry Lunch or Breakfast until 30 June 2024.

New members that join before 29 February 2024 will have the joining fee waived.

For more information, contact