From the CEO

In the stunning surrounds of Bunker Bay, last night we kicked off the sell-out UDIA WA Development Conference under the stars with a political star, former Premier Mark McGowan relaxing with members in advance of delivering his keynote speech this morning.

In his first speaking engagement since leaving public life behind, the most popular Premier in Australian history shared the frustrations, achievements and leadership lessons over his political career. Mr 91% was followed by the Hon. John Carey MLA, Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing & Homelessness and newly appointed Director of the Housing Supply Unit at Treasury, Emma Colombera who talked to the State’s priorities in addressing the housing supply challenge across the continuum.

With a packed program still to run over the next day, there is no shortage of activity elsewhere with yesterday’s release by the EPA of Public Advice on considering environmental offsets at a regional scale and the anticipated release of the Medium Density Design Code documentation tomorrow.

What is clear from our speakers thus far is that there is a shared commitment to finding solutions to the housing supply challenge. As McGowan experienced during the height of COVID, what seems an unthinkable course of action one day can become imperative the next – and you just never know what is around the corner.

UDIA WA State Conference

Earlier today UDIA WA were delighted to commence with the first full day of plenary sessions at the 2024 Annual UDIA WA State Conference.

This year’s event officially started last night with a Welcome Function for delegates to network with friends and colleagues which included an engaging Welcome to Country from Wadandi Cultural Custodian, Director of Koomal Dreaming Josh Whiteland.

Today’s presentations started with a keynote speech from former Premier Mark McGowan in his first official speaking engagement since resigning as Premier last year.

Mr McGowan’s presentation focused on leadership, legacy and looking forward wherein he shared his insights from his journey navigating the State through unprecedented circumstances. The former Premier also shared his observations of the public sector, the 2025 election priorities for Labor and opportunities for industry and the economy.

Following this opening presentation, Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing; Homelessness the Hon. John Carey MLA provided insights around opportunities to leverage the National Housing Accord, priorities for catalyst infrastructure and further regulatory reform to remove the friction points in the supply pipeline in a session looking at facilitating speed to market for housing supply.

Emma Colombera, Director of the Housing Supply Unit at the Department of Treasury also presented within this session with Ms Colombera discussing how the newly formed unit will work with the residential building industry and property development sector to help identify and address specific barriers to increasing supply.

Session three saw Rowena Johnston, Chief Credit Officer at Housing Australia talk about the need for expanding community and affordable housing with key insights into the opportunities for the private sector to work with the community housing sector and government to contribute to the delivery of 40,000 more social and affordable homes.

Following the lunch break Chief Economist and Director of Policy & Influence at CCIWA Aaron Morey looked at WA’s economy and growth prospects by drilling down into the key economic issues impacting the development industry in 2024 and beyond.

The penultimate session for day one was an engaging panel discussion that focused on attracting and retaining the construction workforce of the future with Tiffany Allen, CEO at the Construction Training Fund, David Parsons, Development Director at Mirvac and Lachlan McCaffrey, Development Manager at Stockland and 2023 Young Development Professional Award Winner.

The final session for today brought together WAPC Chair David Caddy, DPLH Director General Anthony Kannis, newly announced WA State Government Architect Emma Williamson and DPLH Executive Director DAPS Ryan Keys for a panel session focusing on Development Approval Decision Making. This panel discussion provided the ideal way to finish the plenary session for day 1 as it looked at how we can develop a better Perth for the future.

This evening will see delegates enjoying picturesque views over the rural landscape and the iconic Indian Ocean at a dinner function at Eagle Bay Brewery before another action-packed day awaits tomorrow with presentations from Hon. Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Environment; Climate Action; Racing and Gaming, Alex Bruce, Jeff Thiefelder and many more.

We pass our thanks onto all of our speakers and to our State Conference sponsors this year Western Power, DevelopmentWA, Plus Architecture and Stockland for their support.

UDIA National Congress registration closes Monday

Registrations for National Congress and the Gala Awards For Excellence in Melbourne close Monday 11 March.

Now is your last chance to get your tickets. Don’t delay, jump on to the website here to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.

There are also limited, but great Exhibition spaces and Awards Category Sponsorship still available. To find out more, get in touch with UDIA National Congress Manager Nichola Byrne, here.

Modern planning system for WA to boost housing supply

Following ongoing advocacy and collaboration on behalf of UDIA members, the State Government’s latest planning reform measures aimed at cutting unnecessary red tape to streamline and accelerate the delivery of housing throughout Western Australia came into effect.

The improved planning system will benefit thousands of landowners and applicants each year, with the latest tranche of planning reforms including:

  • Reforms to Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) with the new Metro Inner, Metro Outer, and Regional DAPs now operational;
  • The new Significant Development Pathway (SDP) now operational;
  • Projects valued at $20 million or more in the Perth metropolitan area and Peel region and $5 million or more in regional areas able to be lodged with the Western Australian Planning Commission for determination;
  • A new online system for lodgement and tracking of applications, and;  
  • A new user-friendly website available to help community members, applicants, and stakeholders navigate and understand State planning processes.

Streamlined approval pathways through amendments to existing legislative and regulatory provisions will support the delivery of more diverse housing across a range of areas and address barriers to the timely issuing of development approvals.

The new permanent SDP is now open for business, replacing the temporary Part 17 pathway established in 2020 to support the COVID-19 economic recovery.  

The SDP is supported by proactive case management of referrals to State agencies through the new State Referral Coordination Unit and a timeframe for a decision of 120 days.

The launch of a dedicated website on Friday also coincided with these changes to help community members, applicants, and stakeholders understand planning processes, and simplifying lodgement and tracking of applications.

The reforms will be followed by the revised Residential Design Codes Volume 1, which will be published on 8 March, 2024 and take effect in early April 2024 with a 24-month transition period.

Changes to the Western Australian Planning Commission are also underway in readiness for a reformed Commission to be in place from 1 July, 2024.

Also from 1 July, development applications involving single houses and any associated development, except where heritage is involved, must be determined by the chief executive officer or authorised local government employee and will no longer be referred to or ‘called in’ by elected members for determination.

More information on each of these planning reforms is available at

UDIA WA will monitor the progress and implementation of these reforms and will keep members updated with new information when available.

EPA announces public advice for Regional scale offsets

UDIA WA welcomes the EPA’s release yesterday of public advice setting out guiding values for proponents and recommended priorities for government to promote early and elective adoption of innovative approaches to regional scale environmental offsets.

The need for a strategic approach to offsets is something that UDIA WA has been strongly advocating for to overcome challenges of the current piecemeal approach, including in terms of securing appropriate like-for-like offsets and supporting better environmental outcomes at a regional scale.  It is acknowledged that the development of offset policy is evolving and while this public advice is not fully responding to this, we see this guidance by the EPA as a step in the right direction.

The EPA’s Public Advice is now live and can be utilised on a voluntary basis for proponents wanting to consider strategies to offset impacts of their project. The advice contains guiding values, recommended priorities for government and implementation guidance.

For more information read our Member Alert in full here.

International Women’s Day

Tomorrow Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day which this year is focusing on a theme of Inspire Inclusion.

In recognition of this year’s theme, UDIA have been sharing articles on our LinkedIn promoting some of the amazing achievements of previous winners of our annual Women in Leadership Award.

This award acknowledges and promotes the positive contribution of women to the WA property industry and we have been blessed with some incredible recipients of the award over the years.

Head over to our LinkedIn page here to read these articles.

Digital Twin technology

Friday saw the announcement of new investment from the State Government to improve WA’s digital capabilities with the aim of accelerating land development approvals and streamlining delivery of key infrastructure projects.

The Spatial WA digital platform will maximise the value of the State’s data by creating a spatially accurate 4D virtual representation of the built and natural environment, supporting key Government priorities around infrastructure delivery, planning reforms and emergency preparedness.

Also known as a Digital Twin the technology will provide the ability to combine spatial and non-spatial data to generate analytical insights, run predictive modelling, and streamline digital workflows, with the potential to unlock significant savings for the State.

UDIA WA analysed the impacts and benefits of Digital Twin technology in a previous edition of The Urbanist magazine. You can read the article in the below PDF or access the digital edition here. For more information on the State Government announcement, click here.

EPA Chair to depart

This week it was announced that EPA Chair Professor Matthew Tonts will depart his role when his term officially ends in April.

Professor Tonts joined the EPA’s board as Chair in 2021 and will take up a new role as Provost of Curtin University following his departure.

EPA Deputy Chair Lee McIntosh will take over as acting Chair while the appointment of a new Chair will be determined as part of the State Government’s EPA reform process, which will include expanding the board’s membership.

Koomba Birdal Indigenous training programs

UDIA WA have been notified of an opportunity for our members to assist with the Koomba Birdal Indigenous training program.

On 27 February, students started a five week Job Ready program – Digital Workplace. Students will complete 2 units toward the Certificate III Business Administration.

During this program students will be required to complete 5 days work experience (13 & 14 March 19-21 March).  At the completion of the Job Ready Program, the aim is to secure paid traineeships for the students to complete the full Certificate III Business Administration.

The course organisers are looking for expressions of interest If anybody is able to either:

  1. Host students for work experience


  •  Offer a 12 month paid, full time traineeship.   

Please contact Sandi Walker from North Metropolitan TAFE at if you or your business are in a position to help.

For more information on the Certificate III Business Administration course, click here.