Local infrastructure projects could receive financial boost

UDIA WA has welcomed the state government’s announcement today that there will be extra support for local governments accessing Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC) loans to progress critical local infrastructure projects.

We believe this is a vital move by the state government to boost economic growth, maintain jobs and benefit local communities during what are very challenging times.

Specifically, a new lending facility has been established to support local governments and universities impacted by reduced revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new facility will enable local governments and universities to access short-term loans to support the liquidity of their operations. The facility will be available from the Western Australian Treasury Corporation (WATC), with applications opening on June 1, 2020.

Local governments and universities will benefit from a further 70 basis point reduction in overall cost of borrowing through WATC, with the loan guarantee waived for the facility, saving $700,000.

The facility builds upon the ability of local governments and universities to borrow from WATC to fund long-term projects.

UDIA WA has been working closely with local governments and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) for the last few weeks to identify local infrastructure projects that can be brought forward to support the economic recovery. Specifically, we have been looking to pinpoint projects that are already in the pipeline, that are primarily funded by existing Development Contribution Schemes (DCSs).

The availability of finance at a historically low rate allows local government to get on and deliver these community infrastructure projects immediately.  Future development contributions can be used to service these loans.

Read UDIA WA’s media release here.

State government information here.

Planning response to the COVID-19 recovery

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and Director of Policy and Research Chris Green were briefed yesterday by the Minister for Planning’s office around legislative, regulation and policy changes that are being proposed in the very short term to assist the sector in playing their part in the economic recovery from COVID-19.

The phased approach proposed will seek to address the need for significant developments that create jobs and economic activity to be assessed, approved and delivered as a priority in respond to the impact of the pandemic. There are a significant number of initiatives proposed, with over half coming from the planning reform action plan already released.

UDIA WA will release the detail as soon as available upon announcement from the Minister.

Market stimulus for new construction under consideration

A number of measures are currently being considered by the McGowan and Morrison Governments to stimulate the housing sector, in acknowledgement that most developers and builders are ineligible for Job Keeper.

UDIA National and UDIA WA are continuing to advocate strongly for a construction grant and stamp duty relief with an increasing sense of urgency as the pipeline for housing construction in WA reduces significantly over the next couple of months.

We are encouraged by the response and will continue to push for urgent action to prevent further damage to the economy here in WA.

UDIA WA CEO in the media spotlight

At the start of this week UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck was featured as one of the four panellists to discuss jobs of the future on Channel 7’s popular show Flashpoint.

The theme for the episode was looking at how WA’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and Ms Steinbeck was asked to provide an overview of the role the property and development industry will play within this recovery.

The episode also featured Dr Fiona Wood, WA State Minister Paul Papalia and Marketforce CEO Adam Marshall.

To see the episode in full, click here.

Amended Strata Titles Act comes into effect

After years in the making, Friday 1 May marked a major milestone for WA strata reform as the long awaited and highly anticipated Strata Titles Act 1985 and new Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 officially came into effect.

UDIA WA has engaged collaboratively with Landgate on a consistent basis over the last couple of years in the lead up to the introduction of the legislation, with the reforms set to modernise how strata is run and managed in the State.

Grace periods apply for some new requirements to ensure those affected have adequate time to meet them.

The amended Strata Titles Act 1985 and new Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 are now in effect and can be viewed on the State Government’s Legislation website, here. For more information, click here.

UDIA National virtual awards set to crown best of the best

We are less than a week away from finding out who has picked up a highly coveted UDIA WINGATE National Award for Excellence. Register your place at the virtual event before it is too late!

This will be UDIA National’s first ever virtual awards event and will be hosted completely online via its Webcast platform and streamed around the country.

The host for the event is Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross who will showcase our finalists and announce the winners. While Tim may be best known for his work on TV and radio and as a comedian, he has always had a passion for architecture and design – making him the perfect candidate to host the event.

He has recorded a short message, encouraging you all to join us! Take a look here.

We encourage you, your colleagues and industry friends to join in the fun and be part of what is set to be a memorable event. Why not host a special Awards watch-party and dress up for the occasion to cheer on the finalists and winners!

We would like to wish all finalists, especially those representing WA the best of luck in the awards

The WA finalists are as follows:

Tiffany Allen, Department of Communities – Frasers Property Women in Leadership Award

Daniel Panickar, Eco Logical Australia – Young Leaders Award

Stockland – Diversity in Development

Botanical Apartments by Edge Visionary Living – Medium Density Development

Bushmead by Cedar Woods – Residential Development

Armadale Fitness & Aquatic Centre by City of Armadale – Social and Community Infrastructure

The Amble Estate by Yolk Property Group & Department of Communities – Environmental Excellence

Claremont (Rent to Buy Campaign) by Mirvac – Marketing Excellence

Chinatown Revitalisation by Shire of Broome – Urban Renewal

Nicheliving Willetton by Nicheliving – Affordable Development

Australis at Rossmoyne by Hames Sharley & Adventist Care – Seniors’ Living

Dalyellup Beach Estate by Satterley Property Group & Department of Communities – Masterplanned Development

Cirque Mount Pleasant by Stirling Capital – High Density Development

The event is free for UDIA members, but numbers are limited so register now to secure your place. For more information, click here.

Submit your Intent to Enter for UDIA WA 2020 Awards for Excellence

There are just 7 weeks until nominations for the 2020 state Awards for Excellence close!  Now is the perfect time to start working on your submission.

There are 10 categories to choose from this year and as all 10 WA categories now align with national categories, the winners of each WA category will be eligible for nomination into the 2021 UDIA National Awards.

Projects can be entered into multiple categories and projects that have been entered in the past can also be nominated again, either in the same category or a different one (you just can’t re-submit a project in the same category it has won previously).

To nominate your project simply head to udiawa.awardsplatform.com and create an account, or log in with your details from last year. Your log-in details can be shared with your team so anyone contributing to the submission can access the platform as needed over the coming weeks.

You can save your progress as you go meaning you and your project team can start completing the nomination criteria while getting your supporting materials ready to load.

The closing date for nominations is 30 June but getting your entry submitted earlier helps us to schedule Judge’s site visits meaning the earlier you submit, the more notice you will have about your site visit date and time.

For more information and to view the UDIA WA 2020 Awards for Excellence Nomination Kit, click here.

First UDIA WA webinar valued as a success

Earlier this week UDIA WA hosted the first in our webinar series which looked at Valuation Challenges in the COVID-19 Environment.

Using his vast experience in the Residential Valuation industry in his capacity as a Property Valuer, Michael Veletta delivered an extremely informative session with participants taking on board critical information that will help when making informed business decisions in the months ahead.

Thank you to Michael for your invaluable insight and knowledge of the current industry trends and challenges impacting on valuations at the moment.

Our next webinar is a free member briefing hosted by James Hardie looking at Medium Density: Consumer Insights & Modern Methods of Construction on Tuesday 12 May. For more information or to register for this one, click here.

The following week we are proud to welcome back Colin Keane to provide A Masterclass in WA’s Greenfield Development Market on Wednesday 20 May. Many of you will know of Colin’s astute analysis from previous presentations and this webinar is sure to be no exception. For more information and to register to attend, click here.

Construction industry supported by JobKeeper package

According to the Business Impacts of COVID-19 Survey conducted by the ABS 80% of construction industry respondents, or four in five businesses, have registered or intend to register for the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

The construction industry registered the highest uptake of the JobKeeper package compared with the other industries involved with the survey.

The high level of uptake for the package highlights the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the construction industry and how important it is that those involved in the industry are supported in their jobs.

The construction industry represents 8% of total jobs in the economy.

UDIA WA is focused on ensuring that government at all levels is fully aware of the importance that targeted stimulus measures will play in ensuring that the industry can keep operating effectively and we can keep people in jobs for the longer term.

Updates to Clause 78H Notice of Exemption

The Minister for Planning, Rita Saffioti has signed an updated Notice of Exemption following a review of the previous Notice of Exemption that came into effect at the start of last month as part of the State Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial Notice of Exemption was issued on 8 April 2020 to provide specific guidance to both proponents and local government on a range of temporary exemptions for certain approvals and requirements within the local planning framework. The majority of these exemptions remain in effect until 90 days after the end of the State of Emergency.

Clause 78H of the Deemed Provisions of Local Planning Schemes Regulations allows the Minister to amend the Notice of Exemption to ensure that the exemptions are achieving their intended purpose of facilitating a response to or recovery from a state of emergency.

Given the continually evolving nature of the current State of Emergency, a review of the practical implementation of the Notice has been undertaken and it has subsequently been amended to:

  • clarify the intent of conditions relating to exemptions for:
    • certain uses and temporary works associated with these uses
    • timeframes relating to substantial commencement
  • clarify the intent and effect of the interpretation and guidance conditions
  • specify who can use each exemption
  • clarify requirements for local governments when utilising the exemptions relating to local planning policies
  • provide an additional exemption for agricultural workers accommodation in the Shires of Manjimup and Harvey.

The updated Notice of Exemption was signed by the Minster and came into effect on 30 April 2020. A copy of the updated Notice can be accessed on the DPLH website, here.

METRONET project achieves priority approval

Earlier this week, Infrastructure Australia (IA) officially gave the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook line the green light by adding it to the national Infrastructure Priority List.

IA found the Morley-Ellenbrook Line was of strategic importance, will improve and integrate transport options within the corridor, reducing car dependency and easing traffic congestion.

IA said the project held a benefit-cost ratio of 1.20, providing $430 million in wider economic benefits across the community.

Two companies have recently been shortlisted to deliver the main package of works on the Morley-Ellenbrook Line. The major works contract is expected to be awarded later this year.

UDIA welcomes this announcement as game-changing infrastructure projects like this are even more critical in a post COVID-19 environment for WA to maintain and create jobs and support a rapid economic recovery.


Towards the end of last week McMullen Nolan Group (MNG) announced they had appointed Jamie Scoringe as their new Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Corporate Services.

In joining MNG Mr Scoringe brings more than 30 years of experience to the spatial solutions group and will help guide MNG as it continues on its trajectory of strategic growth while navigating the current economic challenges.

As CFO and GM of Corporate Services at MNG his responsibilities will include corporate governance, treasury, financial reporting and transactional services, human resources and culture, health, safety and environment, and quality.

For more information, click here.

Jobs and wages decrease rapidly between March and April

The Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, report for the week ending 18 April from the ABS included an overview of the decline in jobs and total wages paid between the week ending 14 March 2020 (the week Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case) and the week ending 18 April 2020.

In that time Employee jobs decreased by 7.5% and total wages paid decreased by 8.2%.

Included within these figures were the states between the week ending 11 April 2020 and the week ending 18 April 2020, which showcased that employee jobs are still declining rapidly while the total wages paid decrease was slightly less compared with the previous week.

In that time frame employee jobs decreased by 1.5%, compared to a decrease of 0.3% in the previous week and total wages paid decreased by 1.0%, compared to a decrease of 1.6% in the previous week.

March figures show first signs of COVID-19 impacts

March saw the total value of WA residential building jobs for new construction drop to $343.5 million (-1.6% MOM, -10% YOY) but the value of alterations and additions rose in the month to $48.4 million representing a 24.9% increase MOM and 6.3% increase YOY.

These figures represent an 8.4% reduction QOQ for new construction, and a 0.5% increase for alterations and additions.

Compared with the March quarter last year the total value of WA residential building for new construction decreased 12.5%, with alterations and additions also down 6.6%.

The total value of WA private sector building jobs in March for new houses was $276.7 million (-3% MOM, -6.5% YOY), with other new residential jobs contributing a further $44 million (-21.1% MOM, -40.6% YOY). This represents a -5.1% reduction QOQ for new houses, and a -28.5% reduction for other new residential jobs.

For the March quarter YOY the total value of WA private sector, new houses, decreased -0.4%, with other new residential jobs decreasing by -55.2%.

Buyers still active in March

Despite the economic uncertainty of COVID-19 WA represented 12.9% of the national total of 9,890 First Home Buyer new loan commitments made with a collective worth of $4.2 billion in March, according to the latest stats from the ABS.

The total number of WA FHB new loan commitments made was 1272, 9.6% up MOM and 15.5% up YOY, with these commitments holding a combined value of $455.8 million 10.5% up MOM and 25.5% YOY.

These figures helped the March quarter reach a total of 3,547 FHB new loan commitments in WA which was 2.3% down on the last quarter but 12% up compared with the same period last year. These loan commitments were worth a collective $1.25 billion, 0.2% down QOQ but 22.1% up YOY).

Nationally, the March quarter represented a 23.1% increase in the number of FHB new loan commitments made with a 41.8% increase in collective value.

In addition to these FHB loan commitments a total of 502 FHOG applications were made in WA during March for new dwellings, representing an increase of 2.2% MOM, and 13.3% YOY. Of these a total of 482 FHOG’s for new dwellings were paid, representing a 12.4% increase MOM and 2.1% YOY.

Across the March quarter a total of 1462 FHOG applications were made in WA, which was 1.9% down QOQ but 12.6% up YOY. Despite there being fewer applications compated with the previous quarter the 1347 grants paid in the March quarter was 7.4% up QOQ  and 2.6% up on last year.

Following the trend of the FHB the total number of owner occupier housing commitments (excl. refinancing) made in WA in March was 3064 worth a collective $1.19 billion.

This consisted of 482 new loan commitments (+8.1% MOM, +2.6% YOY) for the construction of dwellings with a collective value of $196.6 million; 212 commitments (+13.4% MOM, +19.8% YOY) worth $74.7 million for the purchase of newly erected dwellings; 2063 commitments (+9.9% MOM, +7.6% YOY) worth $845.1 million for the purchase of existing dwellings; 203 commitments (+3.6% MOM) worth $64.4 million for the purchase of residential land; and 104 commitments worth $8.4 million made for the purposes of alterations and additions.

For the March quarter a total of 8640 new loan commitments (excl. refinancing) were made by non-FHB owner-occupiers, with a collective value of $3.35 billion.

Investors were similarly active in March with 676 investor dwelling new loan commitments (excl. refinancing) entered into, 1.7% up on the previous month, with a combined value of $238.6 million, which was 7.5% up MOM.

This total consisted of 54 (+14.9% MOM) for the construction of new dwellings collectively worth $20.2 million; 32 (-13.5% MOM) for the purchase of newly erected dwellings collectively worth $10.8 million; 486 (+2.5%) for the purchase of existing dwellings collectively worth $193 million; 29 (-34.1% MOM) for the purchase of residential land collectively worth $8 million; and 75 commitments worth $6.5 million for the purposes of alterations, additions and repairs.

Essential spending up in March quarter

For the March quarter WA retail turnover totalled $8.72 billion (-11% QOQ, +7% YOY), representing 10.6% of the national total of $81.9 billion (-11.8% QOQ, +5.7% YOY).

Understandably in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the most notable increases in spending were seen in food retailing, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and household goods, while the most significant decreases occurred in hospitality and tourism, and retail of clothing and footwear.

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 policy@udiawa.com.au

  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close 15 July 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy
  • Public Comment on Infill Typologies
    • CRCWSC Infill Typologies Catalogue for informing better infill design is now available for public comment (here).

Site Security Update

With ongoing COVID-19 restrictions during April, Partnership Against Crime Taskforce statistics remained similar to the previous month apart from an increase in illegal rubbish dumping reports, full details here.

An adult male recently appeared in court charged with stealing from a BGC Housing site in Golden Bay in June 2019. A bench warrant was issued after the offender, who used his girlfriend’s vehicle to steal roof battens from the site, failed to appear in court for the June 2019 offence. He was fined $237 for stealing and order to pay $200 restitution to BGC Housing Group.

Ensure you report ALL building and construction industry crime, more information here.

Need Fill? Surplus sand available

In the process of constructing the Roe Highway/Kalamunda Road grade separation project, Georgiou have obtained a large amount of surplus fill material, which would be ideal for consultants, planners, developers and other stakeholders that may have a use for this material for their projects.

The fill material can be obtained by getting in touch with Georgiou direct who can provide more information about the specific details. Depending on yours and the project’s requirements (timing, quality and the amount required), the fill may be free of charge or a fee may apply.

For further information or to make an enquiry about the fill material, contact Jason Fletcher on jason.fletcher@georgiou.com.au.