Diversity and Inclusion top of mind

Last Thursday UDIA WA was proud to launch our new Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Diversity toolkit for members at our Diversity Sundowner.

The event was well attended with guests enjoying an engaging Welcome to Country from Shaun Nannup before Industry Workforce and Diversity Committee Co-Chair Tiffany Allen officially launched the policy and toolkit to guests outlining the extensive research and work that has gone into developing the interactive tool that will assist our members in producing their own Diversity and inclusion policies.

Eva Zellman also joined us on her last day as Diversity & Inclusion lead at RAC WA to share her knowledge and advice for organisations looking to meaningfully address diversity and inclusion.

UDIA WA’s new policy outlines our commitment to fostering a workplace culture that understands and values diversity and inclusion and sets an example for the wider urban development industry.

The toolkit can be viewed by members here.

Listen to our latest podcast featuring an interview with Tiffany discussing UDIA WA’s goals and objectives in relation to diversity and how to use the new toolkit here.

Landgate Webinar

Today UDIA WA was pleased to facilitate a member briefing hosted by Landgate around Community Titles and understanding the possibilities created by WA’s newest form of land tenure.

The introduction of community titles has been long supported by WA’s property sector, as it offers a valuable alternative for how complex and mixed-use developments can be delivered in the State.

Industry consultation will soon enter its final phase and the Community Titles Act 2018 is expected to take effect by mid-2021.

During the webinar Kelly Whitfield, a Senior Manager from Landgate’s Legislation and Policy team provided an overview of community schemes, their key features and the planning framework that will guide their creation in Western Australia.

A community scheme enables a single parcel of freehold land to be subdivided into up to three tiers of schemes, called community titles schemes.

As part of the session Kelly explained how community schemes can incorporate a mix of both land schemes and building schemes, and how they allow for different land uses (such as residential, retail, and commercial) to be combined under one scheme through multiple sub-schemes, each with their own management body and by-laws. Common property can be more fairly and flexibly dealt with through community schemes, which will be outlined through some practical examples.

Each community scheme needs a community development statement – a new planning instrument that will set out how the community scheme is to be subdivided and developed. The role of this important requirement will also be covered during the webinar.

For more information, click here.

RBA cuts rate to historic low

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank of Australia made the decision to further reduce the official cash rate to a historic low 0.1% in a bid to further support Australia’s recovery from the pandemic.

The cut in the rate was included within a new package put forward by the RBA that builds on the contributions from policy measures announced earlier in the year.

The new package has three elements which are as follows:

  • first, a reduction in the cash rate target, the three-year yield target and the interest rate on new drawings under the Term Funding Facility to 10 basis points, from the current 25 basis points.
  • second, a reduction in the interest rate on Exchange Settlement balances to zero from the current 10 basis points.
  • and third, the introduction of a program of government bond purchases. In particular, we are intending to buy $100 billion of government bonds over the next six months, purchasing bonds issued by the Australian Government as well as by the states and territories.

“With Australia facing a period of high unemployment, the Reserve Bank is committed to doing what it can to support the creation of jobs,” Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said in his post-meeting statement.

Dr Lowe said lower interest rates and our plan to buy $100 billion of government bonds over the next six months will help people get jobs and support the recovery of the Australian economy.

“The package combines the price-based target at the shorter part of the yield curve that has been in place since March with a quantity target at the longer part of the yield curve,” he said.

“In doing so, it will lower the whole structure of interest rates in Australia. This lower structure of interest rates will work to support the economy through the normal transmission mechanisms, including lower borrowing costs, a lower exchange rate than otherwise and higher asset prices.”

REIA President Adrian Kelly said if the full 0.15 percentage point decrease is passed through to mortgage rates it would increase housing affordability—improving by 1.7 per cent, however so far none of the big four banks have passed the rate to variable rate mortgage holders, instead choosing to drop their fixed home loan rates and business lending rates.

Corelogic head of research Tim Lawless said the stimulus of such extremely low-interest rates, together with the initiatives announced in the federal budget and state-level incentives like stamp duty concessions and building grants, were likely to be enough to outweigh the headwinds facing the market.

Within his post-meeting statement Dr Lowe said the new lower level of interest rates will be in place for an extended period.

“The Board will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the target range,” he said. “It is not enough for inflation to be forecast to be in the target range. For inflation to be sustainably within the target range, wage growth will have to be materially higher than it is currently. This will require a lower rate of unemployment and a return to a tight labour market.

“On the current outlook, it will take some years to get there. Given this, the Board is not expecting to increase the cash rate for at least three years.”

For more information and to read Dr Lowe’s statement in full, click here.

New planning policy to guide development of activity centres

On Friday of last week Planning Minister Rita Saffioti released a new planning policy and guidelines on developing activity centres for public comment.

State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centres provides guidance on delivering a mix of residential, economic and lifestyle uses when planning and developing major centres, ensuring they are integrated with public transport and delivered consistently across Western Australia.

The draft policy and implementation guidelines follow a review to update the current 10-year-old policy and include:

  • simplifying and streamlining content to reflect maturity of the policy;
  • guidance on retail planning and sustainability assessment;
  • alignment with the Design WA policy suite; and
  • expanding the geographic scope outside Perth and Peel to Bunbury.

The draft policy is part of the State Government’s planning reform agenda to create a more contemporary planning system and assist the State’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Public consultation on the draft policy and guidelines closes on February 12, 2021. UDIA will be putting together a submission in response to the draft policy. For more information on the policy, see here and send your comments through to policy@udiawa.com.au for inclusion in our submission.

New subdivision policy plans for connected communities

The Western Australian Planning Commission has released a position statement on Fibre Ready Telecommunications Infrastructure that requires developers to provide telecommunications infrastructure as part of their plans for a new subdivision.

While UDIA supported the intent of the new policy in our submission last year, we have highlighted that given the widespread adoption and consumer expectations, market forces mandate the provision of the service and a subdivision condition may not be necessary.

The Position Statement outlines measures to designate and provide fibre ready connections to new housing, business, commercial and industrial lots across the State.

For more information, click here

Concept designs revealed for METRONET’s new Midland Station

At the end of last week the concept station designs and Project Definition Plan (PDP) for the METRONET Midland Station were officially released.

The METRONET project will replace Midland’s current 52-year-old station with a modern new facility between Helena and Cale streets, better integrating the station with the surrounding area and bringing it closer to Midland Gate Shopping Centre and Midland Health Campus.

The station’s design will incorporate three platforms catering for up to six-cars, a publicly-accessible pedestrian overpass connecting both sides of the railway and green community spaces.

The Helena Street level crossing will be closed and replaced with one at Cale Street to allow efficient traffic movements to continue.

The newly-released PDP outlines the station design, and how it will integrate with the surrounding Midland town centre, including DevelopmentWA’s METRONET East-Midland Project.

The new station will be delivered through an alliance, with a Request for Proposal process under way.

The contract is expected to be awarded in mid-2021.

For more information on this project, click here.

WA to transition to controlled border

From 12.01am on Saturday 14 November, Western Australia will officially transition from its current hard border to a controlled interstate border which will allow arrivals from States or Territories that are deemed ‘very low risk’.

When the controlled border comes into effect travelers from Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory will be allowed to enter Western Australia without the need for a specific exemption or the requirement to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Additionally, travelers from New South Wales and Victoria will also be permitted to arrive without an exemption but will still be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and present for a COVID-19 test on day 11.

Despite announcing the introduction of the controlled border, the McGowan Government is continuing to fight businessman Clive Palmer over the constitutionality of the implementation of the hard border with the 2-day hearing in the High Court sitting this week.

The High Court is expected to hand down its decision at 9.25am on Friday 6 November with the outcome expected to impact the ability of the State Government to re-impose the hard border again in the future if deemed necessary.

Retail Trade on the decline in September

During September, the seasonally adjusted estimate for national retail turnover decreased -1.1% (+5.6% YoY).

The Northern Territory was the only state or territory to record an increase at +4.3% MoM with all other states and territories decreasing (SA -2.9%, ACT -2.4%, TAS -2.0%, QLD -1.2%, NSW -0.9%, VIC -0.4%)

In WA, the seasonally adjusted estimate decreased -1.7% (+14.95% YoY). In original terms WA retail trade decreased -2.0% MoM (+15.83% YoY).

Positive numbers for building approvals and loan commitments

Across the country new loan commitments to first home buyers numbered 14,198 nationally (36.14% first home buyer ratio for housing), with WA accounting for 2,073 (43.75% ratio first home buyer ratio for housing).

The number of new loan commitments for non-residents numbered 335, representing a 6.69% increase MoM (18.37% increase YoY).

In WA the number of new housing loan commitments for the construction of new dwellings numbered 1,014, representing a 40.64% increase MoM (+108.21% YoY). The number of commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings numbered 211 representing a 15.93% increase MoM (+31.06% YoY).

New loan commitments for the purchase of residential land numbered 663, representing a 20.99% increase MoM (+207.39% YoY).

Added to these positive figures September also saw an increase in dwelling approvals in WA (+42.6%), SA (+28.3%), QLD (+19.3%), TAS (18.8%), VIC (12.4%) and NSW (+4.6%).

Approvals for private sector houses increased in SA (19.9%), WA (15.1%), VIC (+9.7%), NSW (+7.3%) and QLD (+3.6%).

The total number of new residential dwelling units approved (original numbers) numbered 16,222 representing a 16.59% increase MoM (+12.05% YoY), with the total number of new houses totaling 11,047 (+14.42% MoM, +28.17% YoY), with the value of new residential dwelling units approved totaling $5.27 billion.

In WA the total number of new residential dwelling units approved numbered 1,859 representing a 43.00% increase MoM (79.44% YoY).

The total number of new houses numbered 1,474 (+22.02% MoM, +59.52% YoY), the total number of semi-detached dwellings numbered 44 (+69.23% MoM, -53.19% YoY), and the number of new apartments numbered 339 (+446.77% MoM, +2725.00% YoY).

The value of residential building work approved totaled $496,119,000 (+33.15% MoM, +62.99% YoY).

UDIA requests for feedback

UDIA is working on submissions and responses in relation to the following.  Members are encouraged to provide feedback and comments to inform our submissions to policy@udiawa.com.au by the specified dates below:

Review of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 DUE 25th November 2020


Discussion Paper ‘Waste Not, Want Not – Valuing Waste as a Resource – Proposed legislative framework for waste-derived materials’ DUE 18th December 2020


Draft State Planning Policy – SPP 4.2 Activity Centres DUE 12th Feb 20201