Update on Federal Homebuilder Stimulus for New Housing

UDIA National has been working since the 4 June announcement of the Commonwealth Government’s “HomeBuilder” package to clarify and maximise the benefits of the scheme’s application.

This has included ongoing dialogue with the Government where UDIA has captured and presented feedback directly from members and the wider industry on a host of critical issues.

The subsequent guidance note issued on 18 June (available here) includes a number of clarifications and also included reference to sales contracts.

UDIA has been able to confirm that HomeBuilder is indeed intended to apply to sales contracts between buyers and developers (as opposed to its initial construct of contracts between a buyer and registered builder for a dwelling), as is commonly the case for off-the-plan apartment and townhouse projects.

Recognition of the different contractual arrangements used commonly across the industry as part of HomeBuilder was a key advocacy priority for UDIA. We are pleased the Government has considered our feedback and we have asked that it be made more explicit in further guidance material updates.

The Commonwealth has also released a copy of the National Partnership Agreement with the states. NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are signatories to the agreement, with Queensland and the ACT expected to follow in coming days.

A copy of the Agreement is available here.

The Agreement makes clear that the timing of the payments will align with the rules in each state for their release of First Home Buyer Grant schemes or at the discretion of the state where no Grant scheme is in place.

In the meantime, UDIA is continuing to engage with the Government on a host of other issues and member questions which require resolution, including:

  • More information about the discretion the States will have to waive the three-month construction commencement window where planning and other delays that are beyond the control of the buyer, builder or developer occur;
  • Extending the three-month construction commencement timeframe to recognise that the range of housing products in the market – from house-and-land to multi-unit apartments –that the current timeframe is not appropriate in for all segments;
  • Providing clarification on the definition of ‘commencement of construction’ to recognise the differences between infill, multi-dwelling and greenfield projects
  • Potentially extending the definition of “construction commencement” to include civil subdivision works, where also coupled with a home building contract which commences shortly after titles;
  • Clarifying the rules around unsold spec housing – recognising the risk relating to projects that have already been commenced;
  • Confirmation of rules around land lease-style developments, and the need for certificate of titles.

Numerous other technical issues have also been raised as part of our ongoing dialogue and advocacy which UDIA will continue to discuss with the Commonwealth.

UDIA is keen to see the resolution of the above items and the updated guidance material we understand the Government will soon issue to ensure industry and homebuyers can unlock the full potential of the package and move forward with certainty and confidence.

We will continue to inform you on the progress of discussions with the Federal government as UDIA addresses these key issues on behalf of our members.

Members can also register for fresh guidance material from the Commonwealth here.

Ready to Rebuild

UDIA WA is excited to announce the official return of our in-person events program, with the release of our first industry breakfast post-COVID: Ready to Rebuild, Priorities for a Rapid Recovery.

Join our expert panel on Wednesday 5 August as we delve into the impact of market stimulus measures, infrastructure investment and red tape reduction. What has been the impact thus far on jobs and our economy, and what other opportunities are there for a sustained recovery?

Facilitated by UDIA WA Councillor, Anthony Rowbottam of Lendlease we will hear expert insights from Housing Minister Hon Peter Tinley MLA, Infrastructure WA Chair John Langoulant, Western Australian Planning Commission Chair David Caddy and newly announced Infrastructure WA CEO Philip Helberg

This not to be missed event is expected to sell out fast, register now to avoid disappointment! For more information or to register, click here.

A big thanks to our event sponsors DevelopmentWA and Harley Dykstra.

Infrastructure WA releases discussion paper

Last week UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck attended the highly anticipated launch of Infrastructure Western Australia’s State Infrastructure Strategy Discussion Paper; A Stronger Tomorrow.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic IWA was working towards preparing the State’s 20-year infrastructure plan, work on which was scaled back during the height of the pandemic. Following the limited number of cases in Western Australia, IWA has now recommenced full-scale work on the 20-year plan – starting with the release of the discussion paper for public consultation.

The discussion paper is a key aspect to progressing the development of the 20-year plan and outlines how IWA proposes to develop the State-wide long-term infrastructure strategy. UDIA WA has advocated strongly over the years for a long term, more strategic approach to infrastructure planning and delivery and in that light, we have welcomed the release of the discussion paper.

The first State Infrastructure Strategy will identify Western Australia’s infrastructure needs and priorities over the next 20 years.

The release of the discussion paper marks the start of an eight-week engagement period, in which IWA will conduct 14 workshops across the State and seek feedback through an online submission format.

Stakeholders from across Western Australia and beyond are encouraged to provide feedback on the issues and proposals outlined in the paper.  UDIA WA will make a submission on behalf of members.

The discussion paper and its supporting documents, a feedback submission form and information about State-wide workshops can be found here.

UDIA part of the discussions to a greener future

UDIA WA Policy and Research Director Chris Green participated in an all-day workshop today exploring harnessing the transformations in electro-mobility, energy systems and urban development run by the Department of Transport.

The aim of the workshop is looking at how to facilitate the take up of electric vehicles within WA while analysing how to deal with the challenges for our cities undergoing transformations in energy systems, urban consolidation and emerging electro mobility. The workshop also considered whether we can turn challenges into opportunities if we address the three challenges simultaneously.

During the workshop attendees worked through a discussion paper that looks at the State Government’s aspiration of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and supports the Federal Government’s target of reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2030.

Urban Design after Urban Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant big changes to the way we interact with each other as a society. Now, with Australia slowly emerging from lockdowns and restrictions, we’re faced with the prospect of returning to normal again. But when it comes to architecture and urban design, what will normal mean? Can it really be business as usual?

Hames Sharley Director and Urban Development Portfolio Leader Chris Maher has put together a piece looking at how urban design will change following the pandemic and how the canvas is ready for designers and architects to shape it how they see best.

To read the piece in full, click here.

ATO information about rebates and the transitional arrangements

The Australian Taxation Office has recently received a number of queries relating to how rebates are applied for GST at settlement and also in relation to completing Form One for purchases if contracts were signed before 1 July 2018 and as such has provided the below clarifications.

Calculating rebates:

Rebates are a type of discount, or a reduction in price that’s not a normal settlement adjustment and could include things like variations to finishing an apartment before its completion and discounts following a building report that are negotiated and apply before completion.

When these types of rebates are applied before settlement ensure:

  • the contract price is reduced
  • the GST withholding amount is calculated on the adjusted price.

The ATO has this example on their website about how to calculate a rebate:

On the 7 April 2020 Rachel entered into a contract to purchase a block of land from Bigtime Property Developers Pty Ltd for $275,000 with a rebate of $2,000. Rachel pays a 10% deposit of $27,500.

Bigtime Property Developers Pty Ltd (supplier) notifies Rachel that she must withhold $24,818 and pay it to the ATO at settlement. This is 1/11th of the reduced purchase price $273,000.

Rachael is required to complete and lodge the two GST at settlement online forms to the ATO.

At settlement, on 2 June 2020, Rachael must withhold and pay $24,818 to the ATO and pay Bigtime Property Developers Pty Ltd the balance of the contract price $220,682.

In summary:

  • $275,000 − $2,000 rebate = $273,000 total land price
  • $273,000 ÷ 11% = $24,818 is the withholding amount paid to the ATO at settlement
  • $273,000 − $27,500 deposit − $24818 GST = $220,682 remainder of sale price is paid to the supplier at settlement.

See the ATO website about GST at settlement here.

Transitional arrangements and lodging Form one:

A few weeks ago, UDIA WA notified members that the GST at settlement transitional arrangements ended on 30 June 2020.

Any contract entered into before 1 July 2018, where settlement occurs after 1 July 2020 for new residential premises or potential residential land may now be subject to the withholding obligations under GST at settlement.

Now we are passed the 30 June deadline, we would like to remind all members of their obligations relating to the end of GST at settlement transitional arrangements.

Remember to:

  • identify any contracts signed before 1 July 2018 that are for new residential property or potential residential land that are still waiting for settlement to occur
  • advise these clients about their GST at settlement obligations and what they need to do
  • to allow Form one to be lodged, enter 1 July 2018 as the contract date on the form

This change means that for contracts entered into before 1 July 2018, the purchaser of the property needs to withhold 1/11th of the contract price to pay to the ATO at settlement.

The supplier of the property is required to notify the purchaser of the need to withhold the funds and pay it to the ATO at settlement.

The ATO has provided this example:

On 11 May 2018, Rachael entered into a contract to purchase a new home unit from developer Watson Home Co for a contract price of $650,000. Rachael pays a 10% deposit of $65,000.

As the supplier of the property, Watson Home Co needs to notify Rachael that she has to withhold $59,090 (1/11th of $650,000) and pay it to the ATO at settlement.

Rachael is required to complete and lodge the two online forms to the ATO. Even though she entered into the contract earlier, she enters 1 July 2018 on Form one to allow it to be lodged.

Rachael’s property is finished and the settlement date is 2 July 2020.

At settlement, on 2 July 2020, Rachael must withhold and pay $59,090 to the ATO and pay Watson Home Co the balance of the contract price (being $525,910).

You can find more information about this on the ATO website at GST at settlement here.

National Construction Code 2019 Amendement 1 now in effect

As of 1 July, 2020 National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 Amendment 1 has been adopted and is now given legal effect by relevant legislation in each State and Territory.

The key changes for NCC 2019 Amendment 1 include:

  • A new provision, A2.2(4), in the Governing Requirements to require (from 1 July 2021) that a process be followed when creating and documenting Performance Solutions.
  • A new provision, A5.7, in the Governing Requirements to require labelling of Aluminium Composite Panels.
  • A new provision in Volume One, D1.18, regarding egress from early childhood centres.
  • Clarification amendments in Specification C1.1 of Volume One regarding concessions that permit the use of timber framing for low-rise Class 2 and 3 buildings.
  • Amendment to in Volume Two to clarify that anti-ponding boards are not required in roofs where sarking is not installed.
  • Correction of minor errors.

You can ‘view’ or ‘download’ NCC 2019 Amendment 1 from the NCC Suite here.

Matagarup Bridge Adventure Activities

Following the successful completion of the Matagarup Bridge last year enabling visitors to Optus Stadium to walk across the Swan River, construction has now begun on the zip-line and bridge climb infrastructure, with the attractions set to open this summer.

The zip-line and climb infrastructure will provide an additional dimension to the bridge and the entertainment precinct at Optus Stadium.

The zip-line route has been expanded by 100 metres from earlier designs – with the attraction now set to stretch over 400 metres from the peak of the bridge to the landing platform on the Burswood Park foreshore.

Thrillseekers will travel up to 100kmh from the launch platform along cables extending from the western wishbone of the bridge structure, across the Swan River to the landing platform.

The bridge climb will include a 314-step trek up the bridge’s main arch, ascending about 70 metres to the ‘sky view’ platform. People will have the option of combining both the climb and zip-line experiences.

WA company Byte Construct are now installing the ‘sky-view’ platform, zip-line launch and landing platform, as well as enhanced safety systems and lighting to extend activities into the night.

It is expected that the bridge climb and zip-line will be open to the public early next year.

An all-ages climbing frame is being considered as a second stage of activities to further enhance the Optus Stadium precinct.

$6,000 for employers who take on a displaced apprentice

Up to $6,000 in financial support is now available to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee following today’s announcement from the State Government as part of its commitment to support apprentices and trainees during the State’s COVID-19 recovery.

The new Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive provides employers with a one-off payment of $6,000 for hiring an apprentice and $3,000 for hiring a trainee.

Employers who take on an apprentice or trainee whose training contract was terminated on, or after, March 1, 2020, are eligible to receive the payment.

The incentive will help employers maintain a pipeline of skilled workers in Western Australia and is available until June 30, 2021 from the Department of Training and Workforce Development.

The financial boost for businesses follows the recent announcement by the State Government to cover the training costs for more than 3,000 apprentices and trainees, who have had their contracts cancelled or suspended, to continue their ‘off the job’ training for up to six months.

The incentives are supported by a new Out of Contract Register, available on the Jobs and Skills WA website, which helps apprentices and trainees who have been stood down to find a new employer.

The register provides employers with a quick search tool to find apprentices and trainees who are keen to continue their training.

For more information on the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, visit here or call the Apprenticeship Office Helpline on 13 19 54.

Further support is also available at TAFE Jobs and Skills Centres. These centres are located around the State to help with job search, resume assistance and interview tips. Free online resources include videos, a jobs board, and the new ‘Career Connect’ Facebook community.

To find out how a Jobs and Skills Centre can assist visit here or call 13 64 64.

Tactical Urbanism – Making it happen

Arup have recently released a new paper called Tactical Urbanism that looks at the recent decisions from governments and communities to reshape street and road space to create more space for people to walk, cycle, live and play safely.

It asks the question of how can we move from temporary concepts to permanent solutions and how can we lock-in some of this recent short-term change, to get longer-term gain?

Tactical Urbanism examines six key things to get right, to make sure tactical urbanism installations are as effective as they can be. The paper also looks at some remarkable global best-practice examples, from cities all over the world, for learning and inspiration.

Tactical Urbanism encompasses changes and adaptations to our existing places and city systems in order to quickly meet the needs of communities.

It can range from using the space of our streets to prioritise walking and cycling to planting community gardens in empty plots and changing leases in empty retail properties to support new businesses.

These small and large actions – both from top-down policy and bottom-up intervention – represent a significant opportunity for our cities to meet the immediate needs of our response to COVID-19 and to implement lasting changes that contribute to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information and to read the paper, click here.

The Latest on Land in WA

New Homes by The West Australian are running a new series called The Latest on Land in WA, which will document the latest happenings in WA land throughout the month of July.

The insert covers areas of interest to the New Homes readership and offers expert insight to help its readers recognise the opportunities and value on offer in the current climate.

Topics being covered include where to buy land, estates on the horizon, things to know when securing your block, the latest in house and land packages, details on infrastructure developments in emerging suburbs and much more.

This is an exclusive opportunity to get your brand and your voice in front of 266,000 readers over the month and showcase the excellent land opportunities you have to offer.

For more information see here or reach out to Maddisen.booth@wanews.com.au.

SHIFT Digi Conference set to inspire

UDIA WA is proud to support a new Digi Conference organized by the TownTeam Movement in response to COVID-19 and its impacts on society. Shift Cooperative Innovation is a one-day conference that will explore how citizens, local communities, organisations, and governments can use the current situation as an opportunity to do things better.

It will cover topics such as reimagining town centres, the power of citizen led action, fostering collaborative team innovation, and the role of arts and creativity in the recovery.

This digital event is about how we can imagine a brighter future and cooperate to work towards that vision and will be hosted entirely online using Zoom and Mighty Networks.

The conference will take place on Friday 31 July and is proposed to be four hours from 9:30am-1:30pm AWST. It will include international speakers, breakout rooms and interactive networking. Participants will be sent materials and logins two weeks before the conference to allow time to familiarise themselves with the platforms.

Keynote and breakout sessions will be designed to experiment with a variety of mediums including pre-recorded video content, breakout rooms and unique panel processes to engage the attendees in the conversation.

Breaks and sessions will be hosted from various locations, for example a yoga break at Elizabeth Quay or a live band playing at the Rechabite. This provides attendees with new perspectives, a short escape out and about in Perth, and pays creatives and facilitators for producing the content.

Tickets are $45 + GST + booking fees and Town Team Members will be able to attend for free.

Tickets can also be purchased via tax invoice. Please email a request and a purchase order number to hello@townteammovement.com (there are no booking fees to pay via invoice)

For more information, click here and to book tickets, click here.

Eastcourt announces new CEO

Earlier this week Eastcourt Property Group announced that Tom Oosterhof had been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the family-owned business.

Having joined the business in 2015 as Asset Manager Tom has been instrumental in the company’s evolution as a diversified private investment firm.

As Chief Executive Officer, Tom will be responsible for working with stakeholders to continue the growth of the broad portfolio of long-term investments.

He will drive Eastcourt’s strategic direction through quality, excellence, and innovation, and guide its team of committed and knowledgeable professionals.

With Tom’s appointment in place, Michael Oosterhof has transitioned into the role of Executive Chairman.

WA starting to show signs of economic recovery

Nationally, between the week ending 6th June 2020 and the week ending 13th June 2020 payroll jobs showed no change (0.0%), compared to an increase of 0.2% in the previous week and the total wages paid increased by 0.2%, compared to an increase of 0.3% in the previous week.

In WA, for the same time period, payroll jobs increased 0.7%, and total wages paid increased by 0.6%.

Since 14th March and 6th June, payroll jobs decreased 4.4% and total wages paid decreased 7.3% but the small gains in the latest data for WA shows signs of positivity for the economic recovery.

Nationally, since 14th March, the construction industry has shed -5.8% of jobs, compared to -29.1% in Accommodation and Food Services and -26.3% in Arts and Recreation.

May saw a sharp decline in the number of building approvals

The seasonally adjusted estimate for the number of total dwelling units in Australia fell 16.4% in May. The number of private sector houses also decreased -4.4% while the number of private sector dwellings excluding houses fell -34.9%.

For WA, in original terms, both the total number of house approvals and the total number of dwelling units approved fell -12% YOY. The total value of building jobs approved decreased -10% YOY.

Despite these results, both the Federal and State Governments released housing stimulus incentives at the start of June, followed by a dramatic rise in the number of lots sales meaning the building approval figures should start to rise quickly from June onwards, especially in WA.

We value your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members. We encourage you to forward any feedback on these items to policy@udiawa.com.au

  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close Wednesday 15 July 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy & review of the waste levy

Need Fill? Surplus sand available

In the process of constructing the Roe Highway/Kalamunda Road grade separation project, Georgiou have obtained a large amount of surplus fill material, which would be ideal for consultants, planners, developers and other stakeholders that may have a use for this material for their projects.

The fill material can be obtained by getting in touch with Georgiou direct who can provide more information about the specific details. Depending on yours and the project’s requirements (timing, quality and the amount required), the fill may be free of charge or a fee may apply.

For further information or to make an enquiry about the fill material, contact Jason Fletcher on jason.fletcher@georgiou.com.au.