From the CEO

Yesterday we saw the most definitive indication so far that WA will soon emerge from its cave with the Premier announcing the $185m Reconnect WA package to promote WA as a safe haven and full of opportunities to live, work, study and invest. A highlight is the $65 million marketing campaign to promote WA to skilled workers and international students, both of which we desperately need to return if we are going to continue the trajectory of economic growth over the medium term.

The challenge, as UDIA WA continues to highlight is the lack of housing supply and diversity that will be a fundamental requirement when the border gates finally open. If this multi-million dollar attraction strategy works as intended, it will likely have unintended consequences and negatively impact housing affordability.

Earlier this week, UDIA National farewelled National President Simon Basheer who has done an outstanding job steering our National body through extremely challenging times over the last two years. We welcomed Max Shifman of Intrapac Property in Melbourne as our new National President and our very own Col Dutton as National Vice President, continuing his National role that he has held over the last two years.

There are exciting times ahead for UDIA both at a National and State level. This afternoon we will be charging our glasses to a productive and effective 2021 as the leading body representing the development sector and more broadly – the community creators – at our sundowner on the banks of the Swan River. I look forward to seeing many of you soon and toasting to a bigger, better 2022.

New UDIA National President

Earlier this week the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) National Council appointed Maxwell Shifman as the new UDIA National President.

Having served as Vice President for the past three years and as co-author of UDIA’s National Policy Platform document – Resilience. Recovery. Reform, Max is well positioned to take over the leadership of UDIA National and steer the organisation over the next two years.

As Chief Operating Officer of Intrapac Property, one of Australia’s largest private developers, Max brings a wealth of experience to the urban development industry. With degrees in Civil Engineering and Law from Monash University, Max’s experience covers broad aspects of residential development from large-scale master-planned subdivisions, integrated townhouse developments and apartments.

“I’m incredibly passionate about the development industry and it is an immense honour to be selected to lead UDIA National’s continued advocacy efforts over the coming period,” Mr Shifman said.

“A strong development sector has been a vital part of Australia’s growth and success, and our focus will be on ensuring that our contribution continues to be recognised, valued and enhanced into the future.”

Before joining the Board of UDIA Victoria in 2018, Max spent six years on Victorian committees including Outlook and Infrastructure & Urbanisation. He joined UDIA National Council in 2018 before being elected as National President in November 2021 – the peak body’s youngest ever.

Handing over the leadership of UDIA National, outgoing President Simon Basheer commented, “My two years of UDIA National Presidency was during an extraordinary time with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which required drastic action by governments, organisations and society.

“UDIA’s collaboration with the Federal Government in helping develop the HomeBuilder initiative achieved a great outcome for our industry and kept tens of thousands of Australians employed during some very uncertain times,” Mr Basheer said.

“2022 will be another action-packed year with the Federal Election where UDIA will be engaging on policy and advocacy as outlined in our National Policy Platform document. We will also now turn our attention to longer term objectives of moving from stimulus activities to reform agendas that can provide Australia with the economic resilience that it is capable of and I congratulate Max on his appointment as National President.”

Mandatory Vaccination Update

Earlier this week the Chief Health Officer signed off on Building and Construction Industry Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions that prevent building and construction workers (unless exempt) from entering a building and construction site unless they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

As per the previous vaccination mandate announcement, building and construction industry workers are required to have their first dose by 31 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022.

Following this, from 12.01 am on 1 January 2022, a person who is a building and construction worker must not enter, or remain at, a building and construction site if the building and construction worker has not been partially vaccinated against COVID-19; and from 12.01 am on 1 February 2022, a person who is a building and construction worker must not enter, or remain at, a building and construction site if the building and construction worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless the person is present at the building and construction site solely in a capacity other than as a building and construction worker or is an exempt person.

For more information, click here.

CSIRO publishes UDIA article

This week the CSIRO released the latest edition of its ECOS Newsletter which brings together the latest stories of cutting-edge sustainability research.  The current edition features UDIA’s story on Urban Greening, originally published in The Urbanist in September.

The story explores the impacts and ways of increasing the amount of green infrastructure in and around urban areas and talks to CSIRO Interdisciplinary ecologist Dr Brenda Lin as well as New South Wales Minister for Planning and Public Spaces the Hon. Robert Stokes.

Read the story on the CSIRO website here and to read the current edition of The Urbanist where the story was featured, click here.

We are in the process of finalising our fourth and final edition of The Urbanist for 2021 that has a focus on transport, and we look forward to sharing the insights from this edition in the coming weeks.

First meeting of UDIA’s Economic Strategic Committee

UDIA’s Economic Strategic Committee led by Jeremy Cordina met this week, identifying its strategic priorities and objectives for the next two years.

Key issues identified included, stimulating investor activity boost rental supply, leveraging infrastructure investment and building our workforce.

The committee’s next task is prepare a more detailed set of objectives and actions that will help inform our 2022 Policy Priorities document.

Home in WA

This Saturday marks the final episode in the current season of Home in WA.  This week’s program will feature a segment from UDIA showcasing the revitalization of Bayswater.

The new Bayswater train station has been the catalyst for new and exciting improvements and development opportunities in the local area that are turning Bayswater into a very sought-after location.

Along with an interview with our Director of Research and Policy Chris Gree,  this episode also includes UDIA Vice President and Parcel Property’s General Manager Land Development Jeremy Cordina discussing the important role Iterno Bayswater by Parcel Property is playing in Bayswater’s rejuvenation.

This episode will go to air on Saturday at 5.30pm on the Seven Network.

Through the course of this year UDIA WA’s media partnership with Home in WA has provided an ideal opportunity to showcase the incredible work undertaken by our members and the development industry each and every day and we thank all those who have contributed to our segments.

To view all previous UDIA episodes click here.

Western Power Operational Processes Update

UDIA attended a forum hosted by Western Power this week with Western Power providing an overview of its strategic plan and an outline of processes improvements it looks to undertake to its ‘customer connection services’ model.

A copy of the presentation which sets out the proposed new customer connection services operational model is available here.

Building approvals and finance fall in October

The number of dwellings approved in Australia fell in October, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) release.

The figures show the seasonally adjusted number of dwellings approved fell 12.9 per cent in October, following a 3.9 per cent fall in September, but still remained above pre-pandemic levels.

Across Australia, the number of dwelling approvals fell in New South Wales (-29.4 per cent), South Australia (-8.1 per cent), Western Australia (-2.7 per cent), Victoria (-2.0 per cent) and Tasmania (-1.8 per cent). Queensland rose (2.2 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms. The large fall in dwelling approvals for New South Wales was driven by a large decline in apartment developments approved in October.

Approvals for private sector houses rose in Western Australia (16.3 per cent), Victoria (6.4 per cent), Queensland (3.3 per cent) and New South Wales (0.7 per cent). South Australia fell (-3.3 per cent),  in seasonally adjusted terms.

The value of total building approved fell 15.1 per cent in October, in seasonally adjusted terms. The value of non-residential building fell 20.9 per cent, having fallen 10.4 per cent in September.

The value of total residential building fell 11.4 per cent, comprising a 13.5 per cent decrease in new residential building, and a 2.6 per cent rise in alterations and additions.

Investor lending near record highs in October

According to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier today, new investor loan commitments rose 1.1 per cent to near record levels in October 2021 (seasonally adjusted).

Increased investor loan commitments were seen across most states and territories with WA recording a 4.4% rise, however Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory both fell, down 3.8% and 12.4% respectively.

The value of new loan commitments for total housing fell 2.5% in October 2021 (seasonally adjusted), driven by a 4.1% fall in the value of new owner-occupier loan commitments.

The fall in owner-occupier loan commitments was driven by an 8.4% fall in New South Wales. Most other states and territories also fell, including WA, which fell 7.4% but Tasmania (up 3.3%), the Northern Territory (up 0.1%) both rose, along with Victoria which increased 2.6% after a sharp fall in September.

The number of new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers fell for the ninth consecutive month, down 3.8 per cent in October 2021 (seasonally adjusted). The number of these commitments was 16.0 per cent lower compared to October 2020.

Government outlines roadmap for net zero

Earlier today the State Government released a roadmap for Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategies (SERS) as part of its plan to transition the Western Australian economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Consultation will begin early next year on the SERS framework, entitled ‘Shaping Western Australia’s low-carbon future’, which was released by Climate Action Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson today.

The strategies will be led by a taskforce of seven cabinet ministers spanning portfolios including Energy, State Development, Agriculture and Food, Transport, Water and Lands.

The development of SERS is designed to help industry make the investment decisions needed to decarbonise and ensure the State is working together towards a prosperous, sustainable future.

The strategy will be underpinned by comprehensive economy-wide modelling and emissions projections, work on which is expected to start in 2022.

It is hoped the SERS will provide a credible pathway to net zero by 2050, unlock cost effective carbon abatement solutions and accelerate investment in new low emissions technologies.

For more information, click here.

Business as Unusual: imagining a future Australian city for the 21st century

The Planning Institute of Australia and AUDRC are running a Business as (Un)usual competition that invites students and recent graduates to imagine a future Australian city that embodies a new Australian Dream for the twenty-first century.

While Australia has so far dodged the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has dramatically reshaped lifestyle, dwelling and transport preferences. These shifts (amongst others) have reignited a raft of planning issues, including regional settlement patterns, public and private open space provision, housing design, urban density, and mass transit connectivity.

This refocusing is timely because the traditional suburban Australian Dream is running out of steam on many fronts and fails to acknowledge tens of thousands of years of Indigenous dreaming.

This competition asks you to weave a new dream for Australian cities and express it in a proposal for a future Australian city of 50,000 people or more located in a regional area. Your future city proposal will consist of an overall vision and the design of a 1km2 precinct.

This free competition is for students and recent graduates and there is total prize money of $10,000. For more information, click here.

Access to UDIA WA website changed

Access to the UDIA WA website recently changed as part of our aim to provide exceptional member services.

UDIA WA has invested in new technology that will integrate our member database with our website and online event registration capabilities with our new UDIA WA online Community Portal providing our members with seamless, integrated services and up to date information at the click of a button.

As part of the change all login details for the website were removed and each member organisation’s Key Representative was granted access initially and the Key Representative can now provide access to a further 2 representatives for their organisation.

All the necessary information was emailed to Key Representatives last week and can be accessed here for more information.

Once active the UDIA WA Community Portal includes exclusive member only access to:

  • Urban Express weekly news
  • The Urbanist quarterly magazine
  • The Urban Development Index quarterly market update
  • The Urban Intelligence economic data report
  • UDIA WA Members Directory listing details of all UDIA WA members
  • UDIA WA Diversity Toolkit
  • Relevant governance documents including the UDIA WA Annual Reports and Constitution
  • Ability to update you and your organisations details

For more information or any queries, email