From the CEO

This time next week I will have just walked out of the State Budget Lock Up with Treasury officials, where the Premier/Treasurer outlines the key initiatives that haven’t yet been dropped in the media and industry bodies like ours delve into the depths of the State Budget papers looking for good news for our members.

We have already seen budget announcements relevant to our industry drop over the last week, including $47.6 million boost for WA’s skilled residential construction workforce including visa subsidies for skilled migrants, relaxation of migration criteria and expanded wage subsidies which UDIA advocated for.

Another $511 million additional investment in social housing & homelessness, and changes to the Keystart Urban Connect program allowing one bedroom apartments and off-the-plan properties to be eligible another welcome commitment. $55 million for water infrastructure for METRONET and limited infill sites in addition to the previously announced Infrastructure Development Fund. The Government Media Office is in overdrive as the good news train builds up a head of steam.

I congratulated the Hon. John Carey MLA today at UDIA’s Boardroom Luncheon for the intent and commitment thus far to addressing some of the barriers to delivering housing supply. As our members around the table highlighted, the cumulative impact of regulation such as POS contributions on built form and the soon to be implemented Aboriginal Cultural Heritage changes can counteract the benefits of other initiatives such as the Infrastructure Development Fund meaning we are no further ahead in facilitating desperately needed supply.

Add to this the impact of lifting interest rates to 3.85% and ‘barely there’ construction capacity for medium to high density projects in WA – one may need a stiff drink when contemplating the challenges of the year ahead.

I was pleased to be able to share our industry challenges with other sector leaders at the so called ‘ritzy dinner’ on Tuesday evening with RBA Governor Dr Philip Lowe. The key message I would highlight from the Governor is Australia’s poor productivity performance – which is the same today as it was three years ago. Dr Lowe’s call to the Federal Government, business & community leaders was to focus on raising productivity growth, citing it as the only way to support faster real wage growth and to improve standard of living.

I look forward to next week’s Federal & State Budgets. As challenging a job being the RBA Governor is, so too are the roles of the Federal & State Treasurer. When many Australian’s are desperate for cost of living relief, the trick is providing that support in a way that doesn’t add further fuel to the already raging inflationary fire.

Policy Priorities

UDIA WA are pleased to release the 2023 edition of our Policy Priorities which lays the platform for our advocacy through 2023 and beyond.

UDIA WA’s Policy Priorities for 2023 have been developed in the context of the need to address some of those lingering impacts of the pandemic, while firmly focusing on the future and ensuring sustainable economic growth for the State.

As community creators, the development industry is integral to the future development of the places that we all live, work and play in. Our capacity to deliver those places is being constrained by outside elements that must be addressed if we are going to keep a lid on housing affordability. We want Perth to remain one of the most affordable capital cities in Australia and we also want to ensure that property remains a strong investment option.

Immediate issues including dire skills and labour shortages need to be addressed, as well as longer term challenges such as further streamlining regulatory processes and reforming outdated taxation regimes.

UDIA WA is also dedicated to working together and bringing the community along for the journey toward Perth becoming a more compact and connected city. Without a shared understanding and commitment to that end goal, resistance to future development will continue.

At the crux of our priorities are the core pillars of economy, liveability and environment. Working collaboratively with all levels of government to deliver on these priorities, we believe our industry is ideally placed to play a key role in the continued success and growth of our State for the benefit of all Western Australians.

The full document is available here.

Announcement to ensure each state will access HAFF, welcomed by UDIA 

The Federal Government’s announcement today that it will ensure at least 1,200 affordable and social houses are delivered in each state and territory under the Housing Affordability Future Fund (HAFF) was welcomed by UDIA.

“The HAFF is a critical housing initiative, but there has always been a concern that some states do not have deep Community Housing Provider (CHP) markets and many state governments have been focused on how to make sure their states do not miss out on HAFF funding,” said Maxwell Shifman, UDIA National President.

Given the stark reality of decades long declines in housing supply and chronic shortages of housing across the spectrum, it is vital we make sure the HAFF harnesses all CHP and private housing providers to the task of boosting affordable and social housing.

Today’s announcement now removes state and territory funding concerns and re-focuses everyone squarely on delivering for all of Australia.

“The Federal Government should be congratulated for making the HAFF easier to implement across each state in Australia and industry welcomes the opportunity to work with the political leadership to bolster housing supply and affordability across the spectrum,” said Maxwell Shifman.

UDIA WA welcomes investment in social housing and homelessness

At the start of the week UDIA WA welcomed the announcement of $511 million being allocated in the 2023-2024 State Budget to assist the delivery of social housing and homelessness measures.

Within the funding $450 million will be invested into the Social Housing Investment Fund, which is part of the McGowan Government’s $2.6 billion investment in housing and homelessness services in WA, including the delivery of 4,000 social housing dwellings and refurbishments and maintenance works to many thousands more.

The new investment in the fund is expected to deliver around 700 additional social homes across WA and fund major refurbishments to the Department of Communities’ ageing housing stock to ensure dwellings can continue to house vulnerable Western Australians now and into the future.

As part of the McGowan Government’s homelessness reforms, $49 million is being provisioned in the Budget for a pilot program to partner with community housing organisations to provide 100 supported landlord homes for people experiencing rough sleeping in regional Western Australia

The McGowan Government has also made amendments to Keystart’s pilot Urban Connect program that will mean one-bedroom apartments are now eligible under Urban Connect. A new Keystart Loan Program will also be introduced to enable customers to secure pre-sale off-the-plan properties.

UDIA WA will attend the State Budget lock up next Thursday 11 May and we look forward to sharing with our members all of the critical information relevant to the development industry as soon as the papers are publicly released.

In the meantime, you can read our State Budget submission here.

Targeted support to build WAs critical construction workforce

Ahead of next week’s State Budget the McGowan Government has also announced it will provide $47.6 million in a bid to boost WA’s building and construction workforce

Included within the funding is a range of new initiatives to ramp up local training and attraction of skilled workers from overseas.

The additional funding is targeted to further grow the State’s residential construction workforce and accelerate delivery of the current pipeline of homes, as well as expand industry capacity to deliver new housing supply to keep pace with population growth in WA.

New measures in this year’s Budget include:

  • $26.9 million to increase the Base Employer Grant for all third and fourth-year apprentices by 20 per cent, from $10,000 to $12,000, to encourage local businesses to take on local workers;
  • $4.6 million for a one-off $2,000 completion payment to encourage more apprentices to finish their training in the building industry and for school students to learn about the diverse career options in construction;
  • expansion of the existing Group Training Organisation Wage Subsidy program to include apprentices and trainees in the residential and commercial construction industry, opening the program up to assist more small-to-medium businesses;
  • $2.7 million boost in resources to expedite approvals of occupational licensing;
  • $11 million for targeted visa subsidies of up to $10,000 to attract up to 1,100 skilled migrants to the building and construction sector, plus an additional $2.4 million to promote skilled migration to WA and visa advisory services; and
  • temporary changes to the State sponsored visa scheme to make it easier for skilled migrants to connect with job vacancies in WA.

For more information, click here.

Urban Intelligence

Yesterday UDIA WA were pleased to release the April edition of our monthly Urban Intelligence report which details the key stats and facts impacting the development industry.

This month’s report includes a feature article from UDIA WA Executive Manager Research Toby Adams exploring the ongoing impacts from the interest rate rises on the property market.

To read this month’s Urban Intelligence report, click here.

UDIA WA would like to thank our principal research partners Urbis, Landgate and CoreLogic for their assistance in putting these research reports together.

New homes in the pipeline through $55 million water investment

Development of more than 15,000 new homes across Perth will be unlocked through a $55 million McGowan Government investment in strategic water and wastewater infrastructure, announced ahead of next week’s State Budget.

The program will be delivered by the Water Corporation to support the creation of more diverse, affordable housing in areas marked for new or higher density development.

Infrastructure will be delivered at seven METRONET precincts following their completion, including Bennett Springs, Morley and Malaga on the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, the future Yanchep Station in Perth’s north, and around existing stations at Redcliffe, Meltham and Kelmscott.

Development precincts in Kenwick and Maddington will also benefit from connections to reticulated wastewater infrastructure, with works at Kenwick to commence first.

Special Development Contribution Areas will be created to ensure State investment is recouped fairly and equitably from future developers who benefit from planned upgrades.

It follows the February announcement of an $80 million Infrastructure Development Fund established by the McGowan Government to deliver more housing and greater housing diversity for Western Australians.

Seeking – memories from UDIA WA’s 50-year history

We are seeking photographic and other memories from UDIA WA’s 50-year history!

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations this year, UDIA WA is in the process of searching through our archives from the past 50 years and we are calling on our members to do the same.

If you have old photos, industry collateral or information you think would be of interest to our membership and for potential inclusion in our celebratory products, including our 50th Anniversary special edition of The Urbanist magazine, please send it through or reach out to us here with any information.

For more information on how to get involved, contact us here.

Waterwise Developments recognised and celebrated

This morning the Water Corporation celebrated the latest Waterwise Developments across Perth at a special event where they crowned Brabham Estate by PEET Ltd and DevelopmentWA as the Waterwise Development of the Year.

The award is part of Water Corporation’s Waterwise Development Program which supports developers to implement best-practice water efficiency standards in the design and delivery of new land developments.

Developed by Peet Limited in collaboration with DevelopmentWA, Brabham Estate has a 6-Star ‘Green Star’ accreditation, with its almost 3,000 lots each having sustainable, waterwise front gardens.

In 2022, Brabham Estate became home to Australia’s most sustainable two-storey display home which is fully electric, boasts a water-efficient garden, and was carefully designed to ensure it is energy efficient year-round.

Twenty five developments have been endorsed under the Waterwise Development Program since 2014, with Subi East by DevelopmentWA this year joining the list as a new leader in waterwise housing design.

Also at this morning’s event the City of Stirling and the Town of Cambridge were awarded the Platinum Waterwise Council of the Year award in recognition of their innovative efforts to reduce water consumption and improve efficiency.

The award was presented by Water Minister Simone McGurk as part of the Waterwise Council Program – an initiative of Water Corporation and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to encourage waterwise practices among local governments.

The City of Stirling was recognised for encouraging ratepayers to choose native waterwise plants during a series of pop-up garden workshops, and for launching its Sustainable Verge Awards program. Special mention was also made of the City’s efforts to reduce groundwater consumption at Grindleford Reserve in Balcatta through hydro-zoning technology.

The Town of Cambridge was acknowledged for making waterwise upgrades at several local parks and reserves, including Perry Lakes where a stormwater diversion project has helped replenish water levels and created a breeding habitat for swans.

Forty eight councils State-wide are now endorsed through the Waterwise Council Program, including the City of Cockburn which marked 10 years participation. The Town of East Fremantle, City of Gosnells, City of Melville and City of Karratha each earned gold recognition.

For more information about Waterwise Developments and Programs, click here.

State Government calling for feedback on PMH Precinct

The State Government is inviting Western Australians to provide feedback on the newly released public realm designs for the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Precinct within the revitalised Subi East project.

The design approach sets out the vision for a vibrant, mixed use and sustainable urban community, characterised by high-quality buildings and public spaces that reflect the rich heritage and culture of the area.

The Public Realm Development Application Report describes the landscape architectural approach and illustrates how the parks, streetscapes and public plazas have been designed to provide sustainable, cohesive spaces that encourage safe pedestrian movement and cater for the needs of a wide range of users.

A bespoke garden and memorial pavilion will be built adjacent to the Old Outpatients Building to provide a dedicated space for reflection.

Water will be a key feature in the design, with three key nodes connecting a water journey throughout the precinct.

These include a water feature inspired by a wishing well as a place of memorial and reflection; a water playground with water puzzles and mists to encourage playfulness; and a living urban stream to act as a bio-filtration system.

Public art opportunities have also been identified at the Thomas Street underpass, the central public open space playground and on the retained Boiler House chimney stack.

Two of the Subi East Six Seasons Bidi Markers will also be installed within the PMH precinct that acknowledge the Noongar seasons and celebrate Noongar knowledge, culture, history and experiences.

Heritage interpretation within the design will acknowledge significant PMH achievements, events, and personal stories through text and images inscribed into paving and other surfaces.

Artefacts salvaged from the hospital before demolition will be displayed on walls of the former Old Outpatients Building (the original hospital building built in 1909) and within the adjacent Heritage Gardens.

Heritage considerations were informed through extensive research and consultation with the community, PMH Alumni and former staff, and other stakeholders to reveal the cultural, historical and social significance of the site.

All up the PMH Precinct will include more than 5,500 square metres of Public Open Space.

Subi East is set to become one of the most significant urban redevelopment projects in WA. Once complete, the precinct will rejuvenate 35ha of inner-city land, creating 2,700 new homes.

Landscaping work on the former PMH site is expected to begin in mid-2024.

The Public Realm Development Application for the PMH Precinct is available for review online from Friday 5 May 2023 and open for public comment until Friday 26 May 2023 here.

State Planning Policy Roadshows and calls for feedback

As part of the public consultation process for the State Planning Policy 3.7 Bushfire (SPP 3.7) and the Planning for Bushfire Guidelines (the Guidelines) the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will be conducting several roadshows in regional and metropolitan areas.

It’s anticipated that sessions will be held in Perth, Geraldton, Albany, Bunbury, Broome, Margaret River, and online during May and early June 2023.

The roadshows are for Local Governments and industry stakeholders to hear about the key changes to the new policy framework and to ensure that comprehensive feedback on the draft policy is captured.

If you interested in attendee one of these roadshows, click here and complete the registration form so attendance numbers and appropriate venues can be booked.

In addition to the above, UDIA WA will be lodging a submission in response to SPP 3.7 and the guidelines and we are seeking feedback from our members to inform our submission before public consultation closes on 17 July. More information can be found here and to provide your feedback to UDIA WA, email