UDIA meets Commissioner of RevenueWA on Stimulus Administration

UDIA president Col Dutton and CEO Tanya Steinbeck met with the Commissioner of Revenue WA and the Treasurer’s office last week to seek clarification on the administration of the Building Bonus and HomeBuilder stimulus schemes.

UDIA is working with HIA to prepare a fact sheet for members and consumers to assist with the provision of consistent messaging and compliance with the scheme criteria.

Ready to Rebuild kicks off UDIA WA’s events program

UDIA WA was pleased to host our first ‘in person’ event since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions yesterday. Over 300 guests joined us at the breakfast event featuring a stellar line up of panelists including Minister for Housing the Hon. Peter Tinley, Infrastructure WA Chair John Langoulant, WAPC Chair David Caddy and newly appointed IWA CEO Philip Helberg.

Ably facilitated by UDIA WA Councillor and Lendlease General Manager Anthony Rowbottam, the panel discussed a range of issues relevant to WA’s economic recovery with a focus on the role of the development industry.

Overall, there was positive sentiment in the room regarding the state government’s management of the COVID-19 crisis and the relatively safe position that WA is in currently from a health perspective. However there remained concerns given the uncertainty around border closures and the possibility of restrictions being reinstated dependent on ongoing health risks.

Minister Tinley noted the effectiveness of the housing stimulus measures to boost the short-term market.  He said there were no plans to extend the timeframes for the housing boost but did say the government is continuing to work with industry around implementation issues.

Questioned on the long term need for a population growth strategy to support the economic recovery in WA, Minister Tinley said that while migration to WA was important, we also need to look at ways of ensuring that our economy is self-sustaining and can grow without a heavy reliance on population growth.  He also advised that the state government is seeking to put an end to FIFO from the eastern states with a preference for jobs to stay in WA.

Mr Caddy acknowledged that the progress of planning reform as a cornerstone of the state government’s economic recovery plan was recognition of the importance of an efficient planning system to broader economic outcomes.

Mr Langoulant and Mr Helberg both highlighted IWA’s key role in strategic, long term planning for infrastructure roll out in WA.  The IWA discussion paper, currently out for public comment, has a medium (5-10 year) and long term (20 year) horizon and it will be critical to ensuring a coordinated, more strategic approach to infrastructure delivery across the state.

The panelists agreed that the collaboration that had emerged between industry and government over the last few months has been unprecedented and is a significant aspect of WA’s success to date.

Thank you to our Industry Partner Development WA and Event Sponsor Harley Dykstra for supporting the event.

Latest episode of The Urbanist Live released

The third episode of UDIA WA’s new podcast The Urbanist Live was released today featuring UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green discussing the recent spike in land sales and where to from here.

Tanya and Chris highlight some of the record-breaking land sales figures we have seen since the introduction of the housing stimulus measures from both the Federal and State Governments. The episode also looks ahead to WA’s economic recovery and the important role of the development industry.

This episode is sponsored by CarbonEMT, who with the backing of WINconnect, are Australia’s most established Community Energy Network operator. Visit carbonemt.com.au to see how CarbonEMT can benefit your next development with savings and sustainable technologies.

To listen to this latest edition, click here.

Record lot sales as stimulus takes effect – full report released

On Tuesday UDIA WA released the latest edition of our quarterly Urban Development Index, which clearly highlights the recent spike in land sales figures following the housing stimulus measures.

According to the UDI there were 3,322 new lots sold in the June 2020 quarter compared with 1,466 the previous quarter.

The average price of land sat at $226,400 for the quarter, which was only slightly higher than 12 months ago when the average price was $222,265, the lowest average price of land over the last five years.

To view the full Urban Development Index, click here.

Local Government Review Panel final report

The Local Government Review Panel has released a final report outlining several recommendations that are designed to be a roadmap to more agile and inclusive local governments.

The report has been put together following the announced review of the Local Government Act 1995 by the State Government in 2017 and was the most significant and comprehensive reform of local government legislation conducted in more than two decades. The objective of the review is for Western Australia to have a new, modern Act that empowers local governments to better deliver for the community.

The report puts forward 65 recommendations that encompass all aspects of the Local Government Act from the Roles and Functions of Local Government to the Establishment of a Local Government Commission and a recommendation to change elections from the current first past the post system to optional preferential voting.

For more information and to view the report in full, click here

Time running out to finalise submissions for UDIA WA Awards for Excellence

Closing on 24 August, there are now less than three weeks to go to enter your project into UDIA WA’s prestigious Awards for Excellence for 2020.

Specifically developed by, and for, the development industry and judged by highly respected, independent industry professionals, the Awards recognise excellence and innovation across Western Australia.

All of our 2020 Award winners will be eligible to enter the UDIA National Awards which are announced each year at the UDIA National Congress where Western Australia has a strong track record of success.

National winners from WA this year included the Armadale Fitness & Aquatic Centre by the City of Armadale in the Social and Community Infrastructure category, and Cirque Mount Pleasant by Stirling Capital for High Density Development.

Don’t let your project miss out on the recognition it deserves. See here for more information on how to enter.

Housing Diversity Committee

Completing the July round of UDIA WA committee meetings, the Housing Diversity Committee met last Friday.

The committee were provided with a presentation by Urbis’s Tim Connoley examining Build to Rent and the trends emerging with that asset class across Australia and internationally.

The committee then discussed a range of issues including the implications of the building stimulus, issues with valuations and the proposed R-code amendments amongst others.

Apartments in Sydney are tough to come by

A new research discussion paper from the Reserve Bank of Australia has found apartments in Sydney are priced around $350,000 more to buy than it costs to supply as it analyses the current apartment shortage across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

This paper measures the excess demand for apartments in Australia’s largest cities and it estimates that home buyers will pay an average of $873,000 for a new apartment in Sydney though it only costs $519,000 to supply, a gap of $355,000 (68% of costs).

The paper finds there are smaller gaps of $97,000 (20% of costs) in Melbourne and $10,000 (2% cent of costs) in Brisbane.

According to the paper the large gaps are sustained by planning restrictions and the shortage of apartments is most severe in the inner suburbs of Sydney, where height limits prevent more construction.

Elsewhere around the country restrictions on converting low-density housing to apartments are important to consider as high-rise apartments are a much less costly means of supplying extra housing than the medium-density housing that some planners favour.

Community feedback sought on Fremantle Traffic Bridge replacement

The community are being asked to provide feedback on the project to replace the Fremantle Traffic Bridge across the Swan River.

The Swan River Crossings project involves the replacement of the deteriorated Fremantle Traffic Bridge with a new solution that considers future needs for road, rail, walking, cycling and boating.

Infrastructure Australia listed the bridge replacement as a national priority in its 2019 Infrastructure Priority List.

The project team is keen to hear from the community during the next planning phase to achieve the best possible outcome for this exciting piece of infrastructure. As such, the State Government is launching a community survey and several community meetings that will provide key input into design elements for the project, working within a number of technical and environmental constraints.

Community feedback will help inform heritage interpretation, design objectives, urban design and pedestrian and cycling connectivity.

There are several engineering and operational constraints that mean the general alignment of the new structure needs to situated east of the current traffic bridge. Key factors include:

  • new bridge must be built east of the existing bridge to enable parts of old structure to be retained and traffic to remain open during construction;
  • there is insufficient space to fit a new, modern-standard structure between the existing road and rail bridges;
  • the heritage-listed ferry capstan and current traffic bridge would be impacted by an alignment between the existing road and rail bridges;
  • building west of the existing rail bridge would disrupt freight and passenger rail movements, as well as port operations, during the two-year construction phase;
  • building west of the existing freight bridge would also require relocation of infrastructure such as Western Power’s sub-station.

In addition to community input on the new Fremantle Traffic Bridge, the final concept will be subject to review by the independent State Design Review Panel. Heritage and architectural leads will also form part of the alliance project team that will develop, design and construct the project.

Details on how to provide feedback can be found here including information on an online community survey and community drop in sessions to be held in August and September.

WasteSorted Grants – Infrastructure and Community Education 2020–21

Grants of up to $250,000 are available to support investment in local recycling infrastructure and of up to $50,000 for community educational programs through WasteSorted Grants, a State Government initiative administered by the Waste Authority.

Applications are open for infrastructure-based projects that can deliver better waste management practices and education projects which can improve awareness of the need to reduce waste.

WasteSorted Grants replace the Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) Program, which commenced in 2017 and has invested over $4.5 million in new infrastructure and programs to reduce waste and increase recycling in Western Australia.

WasteSorted Grants support projects which focus on the State Government’s priority waste materials, including plastics, paper and cardboard, organics (including food organics), construction and demolition waste, metals, glass, textiles and hazardous waste.

Grants are available for businesses, charitable recycling organisations, local governments, regional councils, peak industry bodies, not-for-profit organisations, community groups and research and educational institutes.

Applications close 12 noon, Monday 14 September 2020.

For more information on the WasteSorted Grants or to apply for funding, visit the Waste Authority’s website here.

Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan report

Following Australia’s first virtual bushfire and climate change summit the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ECLA) have released the Australian Bushfire & Climate Plan which provides a broad plan and practical ideas for governments, fire and land management agencies and communities to help us mitigate and adapt to worsening fire conditions.

The plan includes 165 recommendation which encompass many measures that can be implemented right now, to ensure communities are better protected.

Developed with more than 150 experts and affected community members at the National Bushfire and Climate Summit 2020, the Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan is designed to help keep Australians as safe as possible from worsening bushfires, and support communities to build resilience and lead recovery efforts.

For more information and to read the report in full, click here

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:

A Stronger Tomorrow State Infrastructure Strategy Discussion paper (here), closes Friday 21 August. Please provide feedback to UDIA no later than Friday 7 August.

The R-Codes Interim COVID-19 Review (here), closes September 10th. Please provide feeback to UDIA no later than Thursday 27 August.

Building and Energy has released a consultation paper proposing changes to the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 to allow for the registration of building engineers and to introduce a code of conduct for engineers. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 3 December 2020. Download the consultation paper here for details of the proposals and to have your say. Please provide feedback to UDIA no later than Thursday 19 November.

Site Security Update

Following the theft of a hot water System from a Home Group site in Rivervale investigators liaised with Cannington Police, which resulted in a plumber being charged with receiving stolen goods and another male from Rivervale charged with Stealing, more information here.

July has seen a continual reduction in reported crime, more information here, although it is expected that increased building activity will see these crime rates rise in the coming months.

You can assist the building and construction industry to reduce crime by identifying high crime areas and high-risk assets, for more information see here.