State Conference roundup

Last week UDIA hosted the 2020 Development Conference in Bunker Bay, which featured the theme Connecting to Place.

Kick-starting the event delegates experienced an immersive welcome to country with Shaun Nannup that truly set the tone for the conference and typified the theme of Connecting to Place. Using a traditional smoking ceremony, Shaun provided information and history relating to Bunker Bay and the traditional owners of the land in such a compelling way that his messages were consistently referred back to within a number of the presentations throughout the conference.

UDIA would like to extend our thanks to all speakers for providing attendees with such rich and thought-provoking ideas and we are proud to have been able to facilitate a platform for excellent discussion and debate.

Our thanks to the event sponsors DevelopmentWA, Lendlease, Taylor Burrell Barnett and the Department of Communities.

To view some images from the event, click here.

We are working on a blog series in the coming weeks exploring some of the key themes and information form the conference, so stay tuned!

The Urbanist released

Last Friday, UDIA WA officially launched The Urbanist, the first edition of a brand new 48-page quarterly magazine.

Each edition of The Urbanist will focus on a different theme with this first edition reflecting the theme from our 2020 Development Conference; Connecting to Place.

The magazine is an opportunity to explore a range of issues impacting on the development industry in-depth and engage with experts in their field to get the most current, accurate and thought-provoking information available.

This first edition features an exclusive interview with Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan as well as conversations with a variety of big names within the property and development industry, including Dale Alcock, Adrian Fini, Nicole Lockwood, Tiffany Allen, David Caddy and many more to provide a wide variety of viewpoints, opinions and ideas for the future.

To read the first edition, click here.

UDIA features at WA Major Projects Conference

On Wednesday, UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck participated in a Panel Presentation at the WA Major Projects Conference.

As part of the panel Ms Steinbeck detailed how the lack of a clear and compelling vision for our State and Perth is being felt, not only by industry but the broader community and the public sector.  To create a great State, we need a vision that really embraces the diversity in WA’s people, environment and beauty.

Ms Steinbeck highlighted several industry groups, think tanks, research and reports that offer so many potential ideas for how to create the ideal vision for the future but what is really lacking is strong leadership to pull everything together and to articulate a bright future that the public, private, Not-For-Profits and community can get behind.

Until that strong leadership takes hold, Ms Steinbeck said the introduction and implementation of the Strategic Assessment of Perth and Peel Region (SAPPR) was an important platform from which to progress.

“Why would we not, as a State, want a 30-year Federal Environmental Approval in place for all future development in Perth and Peel?” Ms Steinbeck said.

“It provides everyone with clarity and certainty, and provides the key environmental linkage that is currently missing from Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million.”

In addition, Ms Steinbeck pointed out that a clear position on climate change was a must when looking at how collectively we can respond to the challenges it will present in the future.

During the panel presentation, Ms Steinbeck provided a clear and concise message on behalf of UDIA, looking at how we can be part of a growing and vibrant future for WA.

RBA drops cash rate – All four big banks pass on in full

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank of Australia dropped the official cash rate by a further 25bps, reducing it to a record low of 0.5%.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the decision was taken to support the economy as it responds to the global coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Lowe said prior to the outbreak, there were signs the slowdown in the global economy was coming to an end and it was too early to tell how persistent the effects of the coronavirus will be.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the Australian dollar has depreciated to its lowest level in many years and in most global economies, including the United States, there is an expectation of further monetary stimulus over the coming months, with Australia being one of the first to act.

After the decision, all four big banks announced they would be passing on the rate cut in full to their mortgage customers, in a bid to help boost the economy. It is the first time all the major banks have passed on a rate cut in full since February 2015.

UDIA National released a media statement welcoming the rate cut due to the signal it sends to consumers and housing markets that confidence and liquidity in the economy will be maintained.

Within the statement, UDIA National Executive Director Connie Kirk said the need to sustain access to capital and consumer confidence is essential given there were already signs that the economy was facing some headwinds regardless of the coronavirus.

“Housing markets remain vulnerable to the effects of broader economic risks and there is evidence that supply chains for developers and builders are being hurt,” she said.

“We have only recently seen signs of improved lending and some contained price growth in established markets, but a broader recovery is yet to be witnessed.

“The interest rate cut will hopefully signal to consumers and homebuyers that central banks, regulators and governments recognise the case for surgical measures to sustain confidence.

“It will also help homebuyers looking to take the plunge into the housing market and support a turnaround in housing approvals and commencements needed to support supply and economic activity.”

Draft Perth Girls School Design Guidelines (East Perth) released for public comment

DevelopmentWA recently released the draft Perth Girls School Design Guidelines and is inviting public comment on the draft.

The draft Design Guidelines have been prepared to facilitate and manage the holistic redevelopment of the Perth Girls School site on Wellington Street together with the former Motor Vehicle Licensing site and five adjacent residential Lots between Bronte Street and Wickham Street in East Perth.

The draft Design Guidelines support opportunities for residential growth and arts and cultural activation, while facilitating well considered design outcomes that appropriately respond to the local context and the heritage significance of the Perth Girls School building.

A copy of the Design Guidelines can be accessed here and submissions should be submitted no later than 08 April 2020.

Future Battery Industry Strategy powers economic growth and jobs

A new report by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation has revealed Western Australia’s Future Battery Industry Strategy is driving the creation of new and operational jobs.

According to the report Western Australia’s future battery industry recorded a 21% increase in employment in 2018-19, bringing the total number of operational jobs to 14,150. An additional 2,349 new regional jobs were also created.

Western Australia’s battery minerals contributed $6 billion in export revenue in 2018-19; specifically, rare earths has grown significantly and was valued at over $355 million. Additionally, Western Australian nickel represented seven per cent of total global share.

As at December 2019, almost $3 billion has been committed in regional investment in battery industry projects across the State and a further $22 billion in proposed regional projects.

For more information, visit here.

New WAter Ways – DPLH/CRCWSC session: Designing and Evaluating Water Sensitive Infill Developments – A showcase of CRCWSC IRP4

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ Integrated Research Project 4 team are delivering a public seminar on the suite of resources they have been developing to guide design and inform decisions on quality urban infill development.

This seminar will showcase a Catalogue of Typologies for density living for greener, water sensitive infill developments, and an Infill Performance Evaluation Framework, with specific reference to their application in the test case study precinct of WA’s Knutsford area.

The seminar is being hosted by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) and the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and features Geoffrey London from the University of Western Australia, Nigel Bertram from Monash University, Dr Steve Kenway and Dr Marguerite Renouf from the University of Queensland as speakers.

The seminar is free but registration is required to attend. For more information about the project click here or to register to attend, click here.

Western Power update Small Strata Connections Guideline

Last year Western Power published a “Switchboard arrangement for small strata lot development Guideline”, to assist consumers, electrical contractors, builders and developers, assess, determine and apply current regulatory and network requirements associated with connection of small strata subdivisions, (≤ 4 lots) to Western Power’s network.

Based on feedback from industry and network personnel, these connection conditions have been refined to standardise the supply arrangement for all small strata subdivisions inclusive of 2 lot strata developments.

The updated Guideline can be viewed here or see below for a summary of the changes.

In summarised the changes incorporate:

  • A condition where survey or built strata lots are created on a freehold lot, a main switchboard (MSB), suitable for supplying all of the strata lots, is to be established at the point of connection/supply;
  • Any existing services to the site are to be either removed or converted to underground and connected to the installed MSB;
  • The withdrawal of the dedicated pillar option;
  • A Developer’s responsibility to ensure the supply arrangement complies with the published Guideline prior to seeking clearance of titles and or the sale of properties.

Application of the above is being progressively introduced:

  • As of the 1st February 2020 all new survey and built strata subdivision applications/developments are to:
    • make provision for the supply and installation of the MSB; and
    • modification of existing network and customer connection services.
  • Survey and built strata lots created prior to this date may be direct connected in accordance with the previous rules for the period up to the 1 July 2020 after which all strata connections shall be via a MSB.

The Law Society of WA

On 17 March the Law Society of Western Australia is hosting an event looking at ‘The Best Place for Environmental Appeals’ with the event featuring a panel of presenters with excellent credentials.

From the start of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act), environmental appeals have gone to the Minister and the system has been administered internally by the Department.

From the start of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in 2005, Ministerial planning appeals including the previous Ministerial planning appeals, have been directed to the SAT. Environmental appeals have been conspicuous amongst administrative appeals in that they have continued to be directed to the Minister, opening the system to criticism of the lack of independence, the lack of transparency, and the lack of due process.

This seminar will be of particular interest to lawyers and others concerned with due process in the environmental appeals system, as well as those concerned about transparency and due process in administrative appeals generally.

For more information, click here.

$200,000 in grants to help new container refund points

In a bid to support the introduction of Western Australia’s upcoming container deposit scheme, Container’s for Change, the State Government is offering $200,000 in community grants to not-for-profit organisations, schools and community groups.

Eligible groups are able to apply for a grant of up to $2,000 to help them establish a donation or refund point for beverage containers, with grant applications currently open until 27 March 2020.

The grants, which will be administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, can be used for infrastructure such as bins, cages, skips, security stands, fences, tippers, sorting equipment and trailers.

Priority will be given to applicants providing employment outcomes for people with disability, long-term unemployed people, and under-served remote and regional areas.

More information about the container deposit scheme community grants can be found here.

National Congress registrations close tomorrow

UDIA’s signature property industry event, the National Congress is due to take place later this month and time is running out to register!

The three-day event features a host of exciting speakers including Dr Parag Khanna, Gail Kelly, Nando Parrado, Federal Minister Alan Tudge and many more.

The Congress concludes with the UDIA Wingate National Awards Gala Dinner where the best projects from around the country will be named including several projects from WA. UDIA WA wishes all WA projects the best of luck in their respective categories.

With the Congress taking place on 17-19 March, registrations close tomorrow, Friday 6 March. For more information, click here.

Council heralds new approach to bushfire management in WA

A new advisory body has been established to improve bushfire management in Western Australia drawing on knowledge and skills from a range of sectors in order to guide the development of future strategies.

The State Bushfire Advisory Council met for the first time earlier this week – bringing the expertise of public agencies, private industry, volunteers, community organisations and local governments together to provide insight into the varying aspects of managing major incidents.

The group will be responsible for providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Services and Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner.

The Council includes two community representatives who are involved in bushfire management through volunteering, community engagement and local government.

Building approval numbers and values down in January

In January, the number of WA building approvals for houses fell 3.1% Month on Month to 840. This figure is 2.3% below levels at the same time last year and the lowest monthly total since April 2012.

The value of new private sector building jobs for houses in WA was also down in January, compared with the month before with the $244.43 million, 6.2% lower than the value in December and 2.4% lower than at the same time last year and the lowest monthly figure in nearly 8 years.

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

  • Consultation Regulation Impact Statement: Process for the development of Performance Solutions (here). Submissions close 22 March 2020.
  • Building Code 2016 Discussion Paper (here). Submissions close 3 April 2020.
  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close 15 May 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy