UDIA welcomes the housing construction stimulus

Earlier today UDIA WA welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement for housing construction stimulus that will assist with supporting our industry and bolstering the pipeline of construction activity.

We have also been working closely with the State Government on a similar housing stimulus in WA and we look forward to receiving details of the finalised package, which we understand will be released shortly.

The Homebuilder program includes incentives to help pull forward new housing over the next six months, as well as a measure to encourage substantial renovations.

The main element for new home construction is a $25,000 grant to owner-occupiers building a new home where the contract is entered into between today, and December 31 2020.

The main features of the scheme are:

  • A grant of $25,000 to eligible owner-occupiers (not just first home buyers) to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home where the contract is entered into between today and December 31, 2020
  • Construction of a new home or substantial renovation must be contracted to commence within three months of the contract date
  • Income thresholds – consistent with the First Home Buyers Deposit Gap Scheme (FHBDGS) – of $125,000 for singles, or $200,000 for couples
  • A threshold of $750,000 for the value of the new home (including land) – again consistent with the FHBDGS
  • Renovations to be valued between $150,000 and $750,000 with the dwelling not valued at more than $1.5 million prior to renovation.
  • Revenue offices at the state and territory level to administer the scheme.

The package – while open-ended in terms of grant numbers – is estimated to cost approximately $688 million.

For more information read UDIA National’s Member Alert here or UDIA WA’s media release here.

National Webinar with The Hon Michael Sukkar MP

On Tuesday UDIA National hosted a live webcast with Federal Housing Minister and Assistant Treasurer Hon. Michael Sukkar MP in an exclusive opportunity for UDIA members to hear directly from the Minister on a range of issues relevant to the industry.

During the session the Minister discussed the importance of the development industry in these challenging times and the Federal Government’s response to COVID-19.

It provided an excellent opportunity to hear the government’s plan for housing affordability and measures to unlock supply across the country and he also discussed other incentives and reforms to improve housing outcomes for first home buyers and renters.

Planning for Impact Member Briefing

On Tuesday 9 June UDIA WA will be hosting an exclusive Member Briefing for UDIA WA members to hear from  Kathy Bonus, Chief Planning Advisor at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on a detailed insight into the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020.

COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on our economy, requiring an urgent response from the McGowan Government across a range of industries. Planning reform is now front and centre as an enabler to rebuild our economy, create jobs and great places for our community.

Ms Bonus will take members through the detail behind the biggest legislative change to the planning system in many years including:

  • Facilitating significant development projects;
  • Significant red tape reduction;
  • Extension to subdivision approvals;
  • Proposed extraordinary powers provided to WAPC;
  • Development contribution fund changes and more.

This not to be missed briefing is free of charge for UDIA WA members. Confirm your place by emailing events@udiawa.com.au. Registrations close 3pm Monday 8 June.

We would like to thank CLE Town Planning + Design for sponsoring this Member Briefing.

Don’t miss out on The Future of Cities webinar

There is only one week to go before registrations close for our highly anticipated webinar with Stephen Yarwood looking at The Future of Cities.

Ambiguity and change have become the new norm and “what next” and “when” are the questions echoing around empty shopping centres and main streets whilst we shelter an invisible storm.

But, as we start to transition back to our public lives, one thing is certain; we are likely to do some things differently, and, as communities, many small changes may have big outcomes. There will be more than just a renewed focus on public health; there is a pressing case for ongoing innovation in how citizens live that will affect our homes, streets, offices, private and public spaces.

Join Stephen Yarwood (City Planner, Australian urban futurist and the former Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide) as he explores the implications of a global pandemic and the opportunities it offers for us to rethink our urban spaces.

Sharing scenarios, strategies & actions, Stephen will offer insights on this time of change, and answer the curious question…. will COVID-19 leave a lasting legacy, and change the way we live in and design our cities?

Our thanks go to Strategen JBS&G for sponsoring this event.

To register to attend, click here.

EnviroDevelopment Member Briefing

Earlier this week, UDIA WA hosted a free Member Briefing focusing on the benefits of the EnviroDevelopment program.

During this free webinar, David Beyer, principal of ActiveSustainability Consulting, provided an overview of the ED standards, how and where they are being applied in WA, and how they can improve project delivery.

The ED certification scheme is made up of six categories or leaves that cover Ecosytems, Water, Energy, Materials, Waste and Community.

In order to be an accredited ED certified project, a development needs to be recognised in at least four of these leaves with the aim of being certified across all six the ultimate goal.

Mr Beyer went through the basics of how to achieve certification including the fact that within each of the six leaves there are a combination of essential or mandatory actions that have to be achieved, plus optional requirements or credits.

This is to recognise that not all developments are the same. Some developments might be focusing on some particular areas, more than another and the ED certification scheme provides the flexibility to showcase that.

Mr Beyer said that almost all of the projects currently certified include the Ecosystems certification, which is not to say the ecosystem leaf is easy to achieve, rather that the requirements for ecosystem are pretty standard things that need to be addressed across all development types, specifically, to get environmental approvals for development.

Mr Beyer went into details of some specific examples of projects that have achieved certification across WA, highlighting the different areas these projects focused on.

For more information about EnviroDevelopment and how it might apply to your project, see here. If you have any specific questions, email our Policy team at policy@udiawa.com.au

Multi-Award winning Alkimos Beach achieves EnviroDevelopment Re-accreditation 2020

The multi award-winning community of Alkimos Beach, which received Western Australia’s first six-leaf accreditation under the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s prestigious EnviroDevelopment scheme in 2012, has obtained re-accreditation in all six ‘leaves’ under the program in 2020.

To achieve an EnviroDevelopment rating, a project must meet rigorous criteria and achieve a minimum number of credits in at least one of six categories or ‘leaves’ of Energy, Water, Community, Ecosystems, Materials and Waste. The more leaves a development has been awarded, the more sustainable initiatives it is implementing.

To read this story in full, click here.

Edition 2 of The Urbanist due out next week

UDIA WA is pleased to announce the second edition of our new quarterly magazine The Urbanist will be released next week.

This second edition focuses on infrastructure projects and the importance of the right infrastructure, in the right places, not only for economic growth, but for successful and sustainable community and city building.

We feature the thoughts of a variety of key voices including Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew, Infrastructure WA Chairperson John Langoulant, world economist Jonathan Pain and UDIA WA State Councillors Jeremy Cordina, Jane Bennett and Craig Shepherd.

A hard copy version will be mailed out to each key representative for each member organisation and a digital copy will be emailed out to all member contacts next week.

To read the first edition of The Urbanist, click here.

Edge Visionary Living chosen for Fremantle’s Burt Street apartment development

At the end of last week Edge Visionary Living was announced as the developer chosen to deliver a new $129 million development that will create 265 apartments and supply new commercial and creative space in the cultural hub of Fremantle.

The Burt Street site, located near Fremantle’s city centre, the arts centre and public transport, will undergo an extensive facelift that will include five high-quality apartment complexes, vibrant shared spaces and diverse housing choices to suit a range of budgets.

Most of the apartments will be two-bedroom or smaller, with some compact studios as well as premium three-bedroom apartments.

The development will include six unique live-work artist rental studios and a maker space to inspire creative pursuits and help emerging artists to access affordable accommodation and workspace within the Fremantle area.

Local community input will inform the creation of amenities to complement the surrounding area including social gathering areas, active play zones, outdoor arts engagement, green spaces, walking and cycling pathways and a small portion of space for commercial uses.

The project will also explore ways to implement sustainable initiatives that can help reduce waste, and also reduce water and energy use.

The 1.4-hectare site will be developed in stages. Following a period of community consultation and development approvals, the first stage of works is expected to start in October 2021.

GST at settlement – end of transitional arrangements 1 July 2020

UDIA WA would like to notify all members that the GST at settlement transitional arrangements ends on 30 June 2020.

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

In line with this it is recommend you:

  • check your clients signed contracts for new residential property or potential residential land
  • identify any signed before 1 July 2018 that are still waiting for settlement to occur
  • advise them about their GST at settlement obligations and what they need to do.

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.

For more detailed information, check out the below links on the ATO’s website:

Subiaco Oval opens gates to the community

Today marked the official opening of the newly refurbished Subiaco Oval to the public, in what is a key aspect of the Subi East Redevelopment project.

For the first time in decades, members of the general public will be able to access the oval, the original home of Western Australian football, following the demolition of the former grandstands and reinstatement of the historic playing surface.

The Subi East Redevelopment project seeks to revitalise the 35-hectare area between the oval, the West Leederville train station, and the former Princess Margaret Hospital by creating a new gateway between Subiaco and the Perth central business district, accommodating more than 2,000 new dwellings.

Today’s opening of the oval to the public comes after access was provided last month to students at the adjacent Bob Hawke College for physical education and outdoor classes.

The much-loved oval has had its playing surface reinstated, together with the original player dugouts, 250 of the original wooden grandstand seats, and AFL-size goal posts.

A key feature of the oval as a new community asset are the heritage listed original Subiaco Oval entry gates, which have just seen the completion of restoration works to once again become a local landmark.

New flood lighting for night events has been installed and the surrounding area temporarily landscaped for the community to enjoy while master planning is under way to provide the road map for the future development of Subi East.

Other considerations include the Sandover Medal Walk, which will be reinstated once Master Planning is complete and a suitable location within the Subi East area is determined in consultation with the City of Subiaco, WAFC and key stakeholders.

Discussions on the long-term Shared User Agreement between the City, the West Australian Football Commission and Department of Education (Bob Hawke College) for use of the oval are being facilitated through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and are expected to be finalised soon.

Once the Shared User Agreement is finalised, management of the oval will be handed to the City of Subiaco who will handle formal booking requests from community or sporting groups. The temporarily landscaped surrounding area can be accessed by the public at any time.

Phase 3 of COVID-19 roadmap to commence this Saturday

Phase 3 of Western Australia’s COVID-19 roadmap is set to commence from this Saturday and will relax a number of restrictions to allow a number of businesses to reopen across the State.

Some of the relaxations includes:

  • non-work indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people at any one time, per single undivided space, up to 300 people in total per venue (100/300 rule);
  • galleries, museums, theatres, auditoriums, cinemas and concert venues can reopen (during any performance, the patrons must be seated. (100/300 rule));
  • Rottnest Island to reopen to the WA general public;
  • Perth Zoo to open with no patron limit for the whole venue (the 100/300 rule applies to indoor spaces and cafés/restaurants);
  • auction houses and real estate auctions can reopen;
  • full contact sport and training is now permitted;
  • playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment are permitted to be used;
  • parents/guardians will be able to enter school grounds to drop off or pick up their children;
  • gyms, health clubs and indoor sports centres will be able to offer the normal range of activities, including the use of all gym equipment (gyms must be staffed at all times and undertake regular cleaning).

Large community sporting facilities or wildlife parks that can accommodate more than 300 patrons, while allowing for two square metres per patron, may be able to apply for an exemption to the 300 patron limit through wa.gov.au for a decision by the Chief Health Officer.

WA businesses are reminded that they must submit a COVID Safety Plan, prior to reopening, to ensure they mitigate the risk of COVID-19, in line with health advice. Premises that opened during Phase 2 should update their COVID Safety Plans accordingly.

For more information, see here.

UDIA WA Outlook Quiz Night set to go ahead

It is official, UDIA WA are able to once again to host physical events following the State Government’s recent relaxation of some COVID-19 related restrictions and we will be starting with our rescheduled Outlook Quiz Night on Thursday 13 August.

Get your colleagues and clients together and join us for a night of fun, frivolity and some healthy competition! There will be prizes (and bragging rights) for the top gong and some spot prizes for games throughout.

Book in Teams of 8 or Teams of 4 (to be placed with another Team of 4 to make up the 8 players), or fly solo and be allocated to a Networking Team!  Registration includes the quiz, a 3 hour beverage package & unlimited traditional woodfired pizza!

This event is close to selling out so don’t miss out on this exciting event with exceptional networking opportunities with WA’s Urban Development Industry Professionals!

Register to attend, here.

New WA code provides certainty for commercial tenants

Earlier this week the State Government introduced a new code of conduct to help commercial tenants and landlords reach agreements about rent during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The code applies to small businesses, including retail stores, with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and which qualify for the JobKeeper scheme or have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more during the emergency period (six months from March 30, 2020). Small charities only need to show a 15% reduction in turnover.

The code provides guidelines to assist commercial tenants and landlords to negotiate a rent relief agreement during COVID-19 to ensure businesses survive the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. It implements the key principles of a national code released by National Cabinet last month.

The code outlines a process for tenants to request rent relief and landlords are required to:

  • offer relief at least proportionate to the reduction in turnover that the business has suffered; and
  • provide at least half of that rent relief as a waiver, with the rest to be either deferred or waived.

The code was developed by Consumer Protection as part of the regulations of the Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020.

The code will operate in conjunction with the Act, which provides protections such as a moratorium on evictions for small commercial tenants and prevents a landlord from increasing rent or charging interest on arrears during the emergency period. For more information about the legislation, click here.

For practical advice on the best way to reach an agreement on rent relief under the new code, small commercial tenants and their landlords are encouraged to visit the Small Business Development Corporation’s website here.

Construction profits fall in March
During the march quarter the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australia wide construction company gross operating profits fell 2.7% to $4.7 billion.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 0.2%. In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for sales of goods and services rose 0.3%.

In WA the total industry wages decreased -4.2% (+0.3% in seasonally adjusted terms.)

Australian economy contracting
The March quarter saw the Australian economy contract by 0.3% in seasonally adjusted chain volume terms with GDP increasing by 1.4% from March 2019 to March 2020 – well below the long term average of 3.4%.

The Australia wide household saving to income ratio rose to 5.5% (up from 3.5% in the December 2019 quarter) reflecting a rise in gross disposable income, falls in consumption, and a 6.2% increase in social assistance benefits to both existing and new recipients.

Australia wide investment in new and used dwellings fell 2.9% over the March quarter and 15.5% through the 12 months to March 2020. In Western Australia private gross fixed capital formation for new and used dwellings totaled $1.1 billion (chain volume measures) representing a 4.7% decrease from the December 2019 quarter and an 11.4% decrease from the March 2019 quarter.

Residential building approvals continued to rise in April
Australia wide the trend estimate for the value of new residential building approved in April rose for the 8th month in a row to 1.6%, with the trend estimate for the total number of dwellings rising 1.0%.

Comparatively, in WA the trend estimate for the total number of dwelling units approved rose 2.3%, with the trend estimate for number of private sector houses rising 0.8%.

For the month of April the total value of building jobs for new residential in WA was $375.3 million, an 11.1% increase YOY, while the total value of building jobs for new private sector houses was $273.8 million, a 0.2% increase YOY.

The total number of residential dwelling units approved in WA for the month of April was 1314, comprised of 1000 new houses (+4.1% YOY) with a total value of $286.5 million, 69 semidetached (-43.9% YOY) with a total value of $15.6 million, 245 flats/units/apartments (+67.8% YOY) with a total value of $73.1 million, and 314 ‘other’ residential (+16.7% YOY) with a total value of $375.3 million.

Retail Trade drops from March highs
In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover fell 17.7% in April 2020, following a rise of 8.5% in March, and a rise of 0.6% in February 2020.

The total retail turnover for all states and territories states fell in seasonally adjusted terms in April 2020. WA experienced a decreased of -16.8%, faring better when compared with VIC (-21.1%), NSW (-17.5%), and TAS (-17.5%). Comparatively QLD decreased -15.7%, the ACT by -14.9%, SA by -14.6%, and the NT by -7.7%.

Nationally, total retail turnover was $23.6 billion (-8.9% YOY). The greatest decreases were felt in clothing, footwear and personal accessories (-53.5%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food (-35.4%), food retailing (-17.4%), and department stores (-14.9%), while online retailing (in original terms) increased 26.4%.

Comparatively, in WA total retail turnover was $2.6 billion (-4.7% YOY).

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

  • Local Government Act Review Phase One Regulations – Opportunity to Comment (here). Submissions close Monday 13 July 2020.
  • 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
    • Review of the waste levy – consultation paper

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.

Partnership Against Crime Taskforce

With the continued impact of COVID-19 restrictions during May, there was a 29% reduction of reported building and construction industry crime.

The decline is in line with a general decrease in domestic crime during the period, more information can be found here.

With the ongoing efforts to reduce the theft of scrap metals from building sites and land development areas, a Scrap Metal Industry Regulatory Impact Statement has been submitted to the WA Police Minister. The report recommends the introduction of new stand-alone legislation to deliver a substantial benefit, at a lower total cost, for both government and industry.

This recommendation mirrors the approach introduced by New South Wales in 2017 and includes no cash/cheque payments for scrap metal, more information here.