From the CEO

Like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

As news broke of a potential case of community spread in Perth yesterday, again we are back wondering how long before the sand runs out and we are plunged back into a lockdown as we have seen in the Eastern States. NSW today has 262 new cases and another five deaths, simply devastating for the families and the economy as there is no end in sight for our friends in Sydney.

Yet here in Perth, our hourglass has remained full with the odd trickle of sand as we lock down hard and fast to minimise the damage when a case slips through the cracks. And it seems our fellow Australians on the east coast are taking notice. Interstate migration has increased for the third consecutive quarter, validating what we are hearing anecdotally. We have the jobs, we are a safe haven, and we are one of the most liveable cities in the world.

What we don’t have now though, is a wide choice of housing. So, when the borders open, where will our new residents live? Rental vacancy rates whilst having increased slightly are still at historic lows. The established market is still well below what is required for a “normal” market. Where are the investors? Have they been scarred by experiencing or the prospect of negative equity? Capital gains there may be but no one knows for how long and it seems many just don’t want to risk it right now, even though interest rates remain at record lows. From our developer members I’m speaking to, the sales scale is well and truly tipped in favour of the owner occupier and in some circumstances almost exclusively.

Talking about shortages, I was fortunate to attend the Premier’s Skills Summit last Friday along with 150 other industry leaders from all sectors. The State Government’s commitment to resolving the issue was clear with every member of Cabinet in attendance for the entire workshop and a Media Statement issued today with a range of initiatives announced, including attracting up to 5,000 onshore skilled migrants from interstate to WA. Three things will be required in order to achieve this: the Commonwealth to come to the party to allow it, a clear value proposition for WA vs the East – and enough housing for when they arrive.

The ideas are all on the table. The challenge is always in the execution. Time is of the essence here as the needs are acute. We need to act before the sand in our hourglass runs out.

Planes, trains and communities highlight opportunities

UDIA WA was pleased to host an industry breakfast with over 200 guests on Wednesday focused on development opportunities in the North East Corridor as a result of an increased investment in major infrastructure including the delivery of the Forrestfield- Airport train link and Ellenbrook extension as part of METRONET.

To read the full report of this event, click here.

Last call for leaders wanting to get involved

Nominations close on Monday 9 August for UDIA WA Council and new Strategic Committee positions.

As has previously been advised, the UDIA WA Council has endorsed a revised governance structure to ensure structural strategic alignment throughout the organisation and a laser focus on achieving our goals.

Therefore, in addition to UDIA WA Council, three new Strategic Committees have been formed in alignment with our policy pillars. These committees will be supported by advisory groups aligned with the current committee structure.

To find out more information download the nomination kit here.

Auspire inspires diversity and inclusion journey

The UDIA WA Industry Workforce and Diversity Committee was pleased to host a presentation from Auspire (Australia Day Council WA) CEO Morgen Lewis on Monday afternoon.

The IW&D Committee is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture across the development industry.  Hearing from speakers with experience in this space, including Morgen, is part of informing our own journey.

Auspire’s vision is for Australia to be the most socially and culturally inclusive country in the world. One of their key objectives is to champion respect for difference and coming together.

Morgen provided a comprehensive overview of how Auspire is delivering on that vision and objectives via three key pillars including reconciliation, recognition, and driving confidence in the future.

Auspire’s actions include the delivery of classes across civics and citizenship, cross cultural competency and aboriginal cultural awareness.

In discussing how to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the culture of an organisation, Morgen provided a case study on QANTAS and how a firm vision for a more inclusive and diverse organisation has improved the businesses bottom line.

In summarizing, Morgen reinforced that diversity is not a ‘sideline lunch’ but a core pillar of a business strategy that becomes the cultural heart of an organisation.

The UDIA IW&D committee is excited to continue this journey and ensure that the Institute is providing leadership in this all-important area.

Darren Cooper new DevelopmentWA chair

UDIA WA welcomed the recent appointment of industry stalwart Darren Cooper as the new Chairperson of DevelopmentWA.

As the former national president of the Urban Development Institute of Australia and as current UDIA National Treasurer and one of the esteemed judges for the UDIA WA Awards for Excellence, Mr Cooper will bring a wealth of development experience to the role.

The appointment was announced following the upcoming board retirements of George McCullagh and Simon Read, with Reg Gillard also being appointed as a new member of the DevelopmentWA Board.

We extend our thanks and appreciation to George McCullagh for the strong collaboration and relationship with the development industry and look forward to continuing to work closely with Darren, Frank Marra and the rest of the DevelopmentWA team.

Both appointments commence on September 1, 2021.

Want to be seen by industry?

UDIA WA currently has a range of advertising and sponsorship opportunities available in order to maximise businesses exposure alongside UDIA’s quality brand.

Your organisation will be aligned with quality and credibility and noticed by the key decision makers in the development industry.

The opportunities are endless, from partnerships that spread across the year, to one off sponsorship of our industry leading events, advertising across multiple platforms including UDIA’s flagship magazine The Urbanist. We have the opportunity for you!

The UDIA team will tailor a solution for your business to ensure your marketing efforts are maximised with every opportunity presented.  Whether it’s for branding, networking, opening doors or business product promotion, we have the platforms to assist you.

Check out the advertising opportunities, here and the sponsorship opportunities, here.

Your opinion matters

As a key stakeholder and member of UDIA in Western Australia, we’re reaching out to ask you for your opinion via our annual member survey.

To ensure we remain relevant and continue to deliver on what your business and industry needs, we need feedback to help us to continue to improve, change, add or develop.

The survey will take a few minutes of your time and can be anonymous. Simply click here to take part in the survey and to thank you for taking part in the survey you will have the opportunity to win one of our golden event tickets.

Click here for more information.

Draft Guideline: Native vegetation referrals Submission

UDIA WA recently lodged a new submission regarding the Draft Guidelines for Native Vegetation Referrals.

Within the submission we stated our support for the establishment of the Native Vegetation Referrals Guideline to simplify the native vegetation clearing process and assist those seeking to clear native vegetation to determine whether a clearing permit is required. We support the proposed consideration process set out by the Guideline and the proposed 21-day decision timeframe.

Whilst welcoming the establishment of the proposed referral process, UDIA is concerned that the very low clearing thresholds proposed will not have any significant positive impact by providing certainty for industry or help improve DWER workload efficiencies. UDIA suggests that consideration is given to expanding the Guideline to include a threshold and parameters for ‘low risk clearing’.

Similarly, the Guideline should also be expanded to clearly set out the differentiation between clearing permits assessed under Part V or an EPA assessment under Part IV of the EP Act with the inclusions of case studies/examples of the assessment thresholds for EPA (Part IV) and DWER (Part V) referrals.

UDIA supports the intent to provide advice in a timely manner and reiterates its support for the proposed 21-day decision timeframe, however the Guideline offers no certainty that decisions will be made within the 21-day timeframe. To help ensure that this timeframe is achieved, UDIA suggests greater clarity on what information should be provided to DWER and that performance reporting is undertaken and made publicly available, setting out the number of referrals received and the percentage of these determined within the 21-day timeframe.

To read our submission in full, including all of our recommendations, click here.

Experts sought as State Design Review Panel enters second term

New members are being sought for Western Australia’s design review panel to advise on significant developments across the State, including METRONET and Perth City Deal projects.

The State Government is seeking expressions of interest from highly-qualified built environment design experts to review and assess major projects in accordance with the Design WA principles.

Chaired by Government Architect Rebecca Moore, the State Design Review Panel currently comprises a pool of 50 members with a range of expertise across architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning.

Members are called for reviews based on a specific discipline or area of expertise, availability and to ensure a balance of relevant experience and independence for each review.

Since being established in 2019, the Panel has met more than 100 times and reviewed more than 50 projects, working to ensure good design remains at the centre of developments.

With the original membership terms expiring, applications are sought for suitably qualified professionals to join the member pool from January 2022 for an appointment of two years.

Expressions of interest close at 4pm on Monday 13 September 2021.

More information about the panel and how to apply is available at here.

DPLH event

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage are holding a free seminar to update the development industry on changes and updates to State Planning Policies and the Planning Reform program.

The seminar will provides updates regarding:

  • Recent gazettal of revised State Planning Policy 2.4 Planning for Basic Raw Materials
  • The advertising of State Planning Policy 2.9 Planning for Water for public comment
  • The Planning Reform program aimed at improvements within the States’ planning system

The seminar will be held at 1.00 pm on 26 August at the Atrium theatrette, Level 4 168 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

State Planning Policy 2.4 Planning for Basic Raw Materials and the Guidelines have been revised to reflect current and key issues raised during advertising.  SPP 2.4 supports DMIRS BRM mapping for Perth and Peel.

State Planning Policy 2.9 Planning for Water and the Guidelines are being advertised and consolidate several previous water policies into one comprehensive policy applicable across the State.

A status update and presentation on future priorities for Planning Reform will provide information and direction on this important program.

Register to attend, either in person or online by emailing by 23 August.

Western Australian Services and Installation Requirements 2021

Western Power recently provided updates on two major reviews that were undertaken of the WA Electrical Requirements (WAER) and the WA Distribution Connections Manual (WADCM) during 2020-21.

In July 2021 Horizon Power and Western Power finalised the WADCM review resulting in the publication of an updated and rebadged edition, entitled the Western Australian Services and Installation Requirements (WASIR).

The drivers for change, were critically important to ensure the technical requirements applicable to consumer network connections, aligned with an evolving renewable energy market and state/national compliance frameworks.

The WASIR, provides a detailed roadmap as well as links to a range of existing and new Horizon Power and Western Power published technical manuals, standards and guidelines associated with both traditional and emerging connection configurations.

The updated requirements are aligned with the pending introduction of the new 2021 WAER and network embedded generation/stand-alone power system standards and technical rules.

Sections 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the WASIR should be studied in detail, given the number of changes that directly affect new, altered and or upgraded connections.

A more detailed description of the changes and the transitional path from the now superseded WA Distribution Connection Manual 2015 (WADCM) to the new WA Service and Installation Requirements 2021 (WASIR) is available from both Horizon Power and Western Power public websites.

Consumers and industry are encouraged to read and apply these requirements to all new consumer electrical installations as soon as practical but no later than six months from the date of publication.  (1st August 2021).  WASIR clause 2.4 provides additional specific detail on the date of compliance and exemption criteria options.

The new updates to the WASIR are summarised here and the full WASIR can be accessed here.

McGowan Government permanently protects Beeliar Wetlands

This afternoon, the State Government officially delivered on its commitment to permanently protect the Beeliar Wetlands, with legislation passing the Legislative Council.

The Metropolitan Region Scheme (Beeliar Wetlands) Bill 2021 will now be given Royal Assent and signed into law.

The legislation rezones approximately 34 hectares of the wetlands from a Primary Regional Roads reserve to a Parks and Recreation reserve, stopping any future destructive road development, while a scheme amendment strengthens its A-Class status.

RBA continue to maintain cash settings

At the August Monetary Policy Meeting the Reserve Bank of Australia opted to maintain the current financial policy settings and remain flexible in regards to its approach to the rate of bond purchases.

The board stated the current monetary policy program will continue to be reviewed in light of economic conditions and the health situation, and their implications for the expected progress towards full employment and the inflation target.

Reiterating the statement from previous policy meetings, the Board will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3% target range. The central scenario for the economy is that this condition will not be met before 2024. Meeting this condition will require the labour market to be tight enough to generate wages growth that is materially higher than it is currently.

Despite maintaining the current settings, the board noted that the economic recovery in Australia has been stronger than was earlier expected. The recent outbreaks of the virus are, however, interrupting the recovery and GDP is expected to decline in the September quarter.

“The experience to date has been that once virus outbreaks are contained, the economy bounces back quickly,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said. “Prior to the current virus outbreaks, the Australian economy had considerable momentum and it is still expected to grow strongly again next year. The economy is benefiting from significant additional policy support and the vaccination program will also assist with the recovery.”

To read the statement in full, click here.

UDIA to continue filming next week

Next week will see UDIA WA continuing with its filming schedule as part of our media partnership with Home in WA.

Filming next week is set to feature Planning Minister Rita Saffioti discussing the benefits of the new Ellenbrook train station that is scheduled to open in 2024.

UDIA will notify members when this episode will be going to air but you can re-watch all of the previous episodes by visiting our Youtube channel, here.

Growth cycle tapering as housing becomes less affordable

Australian housing values increased a further 1.6% in July, according to CoreLogic’s national home value index. The latest rise takes housing values 14.1% higher over the first seven months of the year and 16.1% higher over the past twelve months.

In a statement announcing the latest figures CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, described the market as strong, but losing steam. He said the 16.1% lift in national housing values over the past year is the fastest pace of annual growth since February 2004, however the monthly growth rate has been trending lower since March this year when the national index rose 2.8%.

Mr Lawless attributes the lower rate of growth in housing values to several factors.

“With dwelling values rising more in a month than incomes are rising in a year, housing is moving out of reach for many members of the community,” he said. “Along with declining home affordability, much of the earlier COVID related fiscal support (particularly fiscal support related to housing) has expired. It is however, encouraging to see additional measures being rolled out for households and businesses as the latest COVID outbreak worsens.

“On the flip side, demand is being stocked by record low mortgage rates and the prospect that interest rates will remain low for an extended period of time.  Dwelling sales are tracking approximately 40% above the five-year average while active listings remain about -26% below the five-year average.  The mismatch between demand and advertised supply remains a key factor placing upwards pressure on housing prices.”

To read the statement in full, click here.

Waterwise greening opportunities on offer for local governments and property owners

Local governments are being encouraged to take advantage of Water Corporation’s Waterwise Greening Scheme to help create cooler, greener suburbs.

The scheme, delivered by the State Government, through Water Corporation, allows local governments to apply for up to $10,000 in co-funding annually to support waterwise greening initiatives in local communities.

Initiatives include complimentary and subsidised plants for ratepayers, verge programs, trees, gardening workshops, competitions, and demonstration gardens.

To be eligible, local governments in metropolitan and regional Western Australia are required to be a Waterwise Council and have an approved waterwise verge policy.

To encourage greater uptake of waterwise verge transformations, Water Corporation has partnered with Development WA, City of Cockburn and landscape architect Josh Byrne and Associates, to develop a waterwise demonstration streetscape and how-to guide at the OneOneFive Hamilton Hill development.

Seven verges neighbouring the development are being transformed into demonstration verges which include a step-by-step guide showing residents how to create their own waterwise verges.

Once completed, it is hoped all local governments will explore similar projects to support biodiversity and create cooler, greener suburbs on a much larger scale.

To find out more about the Waterwise Greening Scheme, visit here. For further information on the waterwise demonstration streetscape project and step-by-step guidelines visit here.