Jonathan Pain returns to WA

It has been a week of big announcements in relation to global economic and political movements with the continuing stoush over Brexit in the UK leading to a general election being called for 12 December.  The UK Parliament has been dissolved and we are likely to see some turbulent and uncertain weeks ahead in the lead up to the polls.

In the meantime, a US China trade deal also looks imminent, with Trump advisors stating that the escalating global economic uncertainty caused by friction between the two nations is forcing the two countries to the table to make a deal sooner rather than later.

The outcome of these world events are likely to have significant implications for our local economy and property markets and UDIA WA is therefore pleased to host global economist Jonathan Pain back to WA to speak at out our first industry luncheon in February 2020 to unpack all the details.

Jonathan is a global economics expert and is returning to Perth following his presentation at a UDIA luncheon earlier this year where he accurately predicted that rates would go below 1% by the end of the year. Jonathan provided a raft of other information and predictions which have proved extremely accurate over the course of the year including in relation to tight lending criteria impacting on the residential property market.

Now in the context of a UK election and the US China deal, Jonathan will have plenty to discuss come February.

Join us for what is sure to be an insightful exploration into how global economic and political factors will impact on the local Australian and WA economy and property market.

More information here.

UDIA National Submission to assist first home buyers

Earlier this week UDIA National provided a submission to the Treasury in response to the draft National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) Investment Mandate Amendment (First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) Direction 2019.

Within the submission UDIA National highlighted that it was supportive of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme that recognises the barriers to entering the housing market are real. However, the scheme will need to be properly designed to give effect to objectives including assisting more homebuyers into the market, improving affordability and supporting housing supply.

One of the recommendations UDIA National put forward is the idea that the current housing price caps should remain under active review to ensure they reflect existing and future trends in house prices. For example, in each of Australia’s five largest capital cities the current house price cap for eligible properties were below the median house price.

Better aligning the price caps with the median house prices would broaden the choice available to homebuyers.

The next recommendation was in relation to clause 29C(2)(f) – the requirement for purchasers to obtain a loan for the vacant land as well as for the construction of the house to sit atop it. UDIA National said this requirement ignored the practical reality of how land is sold, developed and financed. It would steer scheme participants away from the greenfield sector and towards either existing stock, resale stock or stock close to completion – meaning the opportunity to stimulate new supply into the market is potentially being missed.

Two recommendations were made to address this issue, first that the clause be amended to remove the requirement for participants to have access to a loan that includes both the acquisition of land and the construction of a residential premise. Second that the Commonwealth amend 29C(2)(f) to include capacity for borrowers to secure a loan for the acquisition of land – and apply a sunset clause on the guarantee of, for example, 6-12 months, to also secure a loan for the construction of a residential premise.

Another recommendation in the submission related to the number of participants eligible to access the scheme in a single year. UDIA recommended the Government look to provide additional capacity specifically targeted to new builds for the early years of the Scheme’s life to help stimulate the much-needed economic activity that new dwelling construction brings.

UDIA finished the submission with recommendations for improving the mandate that gives NFHIC a licence and capacity to conduct research into housing supply, demand and affordability. UDIA National said housing policy would be better informed through the availability of this research but provided a range of suggestions for the Commonwealth to refine the mandate to support a host or priorities that will improve access to housing.

To view the submission in full, click here.

Committee Nominations now open

UDIA is pleased to announce that 2020-21 committee positions are now open for nominations until COB Friday 22 November 2019.

Nominations are being accepted for the following UDIA Committees: Environment; Housing Diversity; Industry Workforce & Diversity; Infrastructure; Land Use Planning; Outlook (Young Professionals); and Urban Water.

Apply now to assist in leading the planning, implementation and delivery of the Institute’s policy and advocacy agenda; and actively identify and address strategic opportunities and challenges faced by the urban development industry.

Further information is available on the UDIA website here.

UDIA hosts joint industry stimulus group meeting

On Monday, UDIA convened a follow up meeting with fellow industry organisations including MBA, HIA, Property Council and REIWA as we continue to work together to advocate to state government for a policy package to support the property market recovery in WA.

The meeting was held to specifically discuss the potential unintended consequences of the Stamp Duty Rebate scheme that was recently announced by the State Government. As well as how we can continue to work together to action further recommendations that were made as part of the proposed policy package.

Following the meeting on Monday, UDIA is working collaboratively on a letter outlining our concerns that will inform our meeting scheduled with Housing Minister Peter Tinley next week.

UDIA will keep members updated on the progress of this letter and any future meetings.

Western Power HV Pool Refunds

Following ongoing discussions between Western Power and UDIA WA regarding the HV Pool, Western Power has carried out one off proactive retests on projects that failed the economic tests upon initial assessment.

As result, a total of 27 projects have passed on the proactive retest and will receive refunds totalling a combined value of $3.6 million. These refunds are currently being processed by Western Power and those eligible will receive notice from Western Power.

UDIA greatly appreciates Western Powers efforts in retesting projects that failed the economic tests upon initial assessment and looks forward to continuing working with Western Power to ensure the effective management of the HV Pool.

Port Hedland marina and waterfront draft masterplan released

Following stakeholder and community input from workshops held during September 2019, a draft Masterplan for the Spoilbank Marina project designed to revitalise Port Hedland, has been released for public comment.

The Masterplan incorporates both land and ocean-side development, including:

  • a marina waterbody and associated infrastructure with initial capacity for 45 boat pens and 80 pens in the long-term;
  • a four-lane boat ramp;
  • up to 200 trailer parking bays and additional provision for general car parking;
  • dry dock area for commercial vessels;
  • publicly-accessible breakwaters and a jetty platform;
  • recreation and event spaces, including provision for temporary ‘pop-ups’ accommodating food and beverage outlets;
  • shared sports club opportunity; and
  • public waterfront promenade.

The Masterplan is available to view and make comment here.

UDIA National Congress Earlybird packages available

Set to play host to more than 500 property industry delegates and featuring national and international speakers, the countdown is on for the UDIA National Congress 2020.

Taking place in Sydney, the three-day event will kick off on Tuesday 17 March and end on Thursday 19 March.

UDIA Members are currently able to take advantage of earlybird packages where individual bookings can save up to $400 per delegate and company bookings can save up to $550 per delegate.

Visit here for more information and to register your interest in attending.

Time running out for EoI on Alkimos Central

There are only a few days left for experienced developers to partner in the delivery of Perth’s newest city centre; Alkimos Central.

The 20-hectare area at the core of Alkimos Central offers a substantial development opportunity with up to 67,000sqm of retail floor space with commercial, residential and mixed-use potential, which integrates with the future Alkimos Station delivered by METRONET.

For more information or to register your interest, click here.

Have your say on the Better Suburbs Strategy

The City of Stirling is seeking community comment on its Draft Better Suburbs Strategy, which will guide the Better Suburbs Project, a long-term plan it has been working on since 2016 to cater for growth in its north-eastern suburbs.

The project covers Balga, Dianella, Mirrabooka, Nollamara and Westminster, incorporating some parts of Balcatta, Hamersley, Tuart Hill and Yokine near Wanneroo Road and Morley Drive.

The Draft Better Suburbs Strategy and associated planning framework documents will be available to the public as of today, closing at 5.00pm on Thursday 12 December 2019.

To view the Strategy and make comment, click here.

WAPC set to launch pilot project

The Western Australian Planning Commission’s community consultation project on attitudes to density and infill development is set to get underway in the coming weeks.

WAPC is undertaking The Street Where You Live, a pilot project with the residents of Carlisle to better understand what the community understands as the benefits and challenges of smart, targeted density across existing neighbourhoods.

It will focus on the community of Carlisle as a typically representative Perth suburb with good public transport links, a diverse community and an existing degree of density and mixed-use development. There are no planning and development outcomes for Carlisle; this is a research project only.

An online survey will be used to test community attitudes on a range of issues including size and scale of buildings, the optimum location and design of density, and planning priorities. While the survey is accessible to the general community, the focus for the project is Carlisle residents.

A consultant team led by Creating Communities in partnership with Collaborative Place Design and representatives from Murdoch University will also undertake a series of interactive community engagement activities for this project.

As well as helping to determine community attitudes, it is hoped this exercise will also begin to reframe the narrative around the increase in density and infill development needed to accommodate a substantial population increase across the Perth and Peel regions over the next 30 years.

For more information, click here.

WAPC releases two new position statements

Further announcements from WAPC this week saw the release of two new position statements, the first looking at Tourism Land Uses in Bushfire Prone Areas with the second focusing on Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas – Demonstrating Element 1: Location and Element 2: Siting and Design.

WAPC released the first position statement to guide local governments in planning for tourism land uses within bushfire prone areas and introduces a range of measures to ensure bushfire risk is considered appropriately and cognisant of the land use.

These measures include:

  • identifying the bushfire risks and mitigation measures for proposed tourism land use development within BAL-40 or BAL-FZ and/or where access is limited, such as early evacuation, closure on elevated fire risk days and/or provision of on-site bushfire shelters, which could include an open space area (e.g. the beach where no buildings are proposed)
  • considering the broader landscape bushfire risk such as the vegetation type and extent surrounding a site
  • developing an emergency evacuation plan that clearly identifies mitigation measures and roles and responsibilities in the event of a bushfire
  • identifying construction requirements for buildings to be used as an on-site bushfire shelter.

A Guide to Developing a Bushfire Emergency Evacuation Plan and a Bushfire Emergency Evacuation Plan Template Plan have also been prepared to assist local governments with the preparation of Emergency Evacuation plans.

For more information about this position statement, click here.

The second Position Statement was released to guide decision-makers for subdivisions and planning proposals that contain lots with high bushfire attack level (BAL) ratings. It provides clarification and further interpretation of Elements 1 and 2 to assist decision-makers in the consideration of subdivisions and strategic planning proposals where BAL-40 or BAL-FZ remains on the proposed lot(s).

Key measures include:

  • Element 1 – consideration should be given to the wider context of a proposal or application (i.e. the land within and adjoining both the development site and the overall subject site)
  • Element 2 – where Element 1 is satisfied and where a habitable building can be located within an area of BAL-29 or below, a decision-maker can consider lot(s) containing BAL-40 or BAL-FZ in some circumstances.

For more information about the second position statement, click here.

Both Position Statements are effective immediately in the determination of planning applications until a revised policy as part of Stage 3 of the Bushfire Framework Review 2019 is gazetted.

Proposed amendments to EP Act 1986

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has identified a suite of potential amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act), which it is consulting on and requests comments on the discussion paper and the Exposure draft Bill.

The aim of the amendments is to improve regulatory efficiency and effectiveness and facilitate the implementation of the bilateral assessment and approval agreements under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, to deliver better environmental and sustainable development outcomes.

The amendments are drawn from several reviews undertaken since the last major amendments by the Gallop Government in 2003 and from feedback from stakeholders over that same period.

The UDIA Environment Committee will review the amendments and provide feedback through a submission before the consultation period ends on January 28, 2020.

For more information, click here.

Proposals welcome for old Waterbank Station

The state government is inviting registrations of interest for development or land use proposals for an underutilised patch of land 40km from Broome.

The 75,000-hectare site previously housed the former Waterbank Station in the Kimberley region but is now in need of revitalisation.

Bound by Kilto, Country Downs, Mt Jowalenga, Roebuck Plains and Yeeda stations, the site may be suitable for a variety of large-scale developments.

Proposals must demonstrate a significant social, cultural or economic benefit to Broome and will help build a stronger economy for the Kimberley community.

Registrations of interest are open until November 29, 2019. For more information click here.

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

  • DWER Climate Change in Western Australia – Issues Paper (here). Submissions close November 29, 2019.
  • Proposed reforms to the building approval process for single residential buildings in WA (here). Submissions close December 9, 2019.
  • Draft East Wanneroo District Structure Plan (here). Submissions close December 20, 2019.

Action Plan for Planning Reform stakeholder register

The Western Australian Planning Commission are looking to establish a register of interested planning stakeholders, users of the planning system and community members to provide feedback on development of the Action Plan for Planning Reform.

The 19-point plan was released by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti in August and requires considerable stakeholder involvement to shape the detail of some of the initiatives and monitor for potential adjustment.

To register your interest and subscribe the stakeholder register, click here.

Labour market improving with higher migration figures

Last Friday the latest Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) report; Finding a place to call home: Immigration in Australia was launched and highlighted that a rise in immigration is associated with an improved labour market for native-born people.

Contrary to the belief that an increase in the share of migrant workers leads to systematically worse labour market outcomes for native-born workers, the report revealed that a greater share of migrant workers leads to increased full-time employment, more hours of work and higher wages among native workers.

Of these higher wages, the report found a one percentage point increase in share of migrant workers leads to an increase of 2.4 percentage points in the real wages of native-born workers.

While this is positive news for Australia as a whole, it ties in well with the recent decision from the federal government to no longer classify Perth as a ‘major urban area’ in its regional migration scheme.

The result of this decision means applicants for points-based visas are eligible for a five-point credit for studying in areas designated by the Federal Department of Home Affairs to be postcodes of regional Australia or low population growth metropolitan areas such as Perth. A commitment to living and working in these designated areas for at least three years will create an eligibility for permanent residency.

The idea is that the opportunity to gain more points and secure a visa will incentivise more skilled migrants and international students to locate to Perth, particularly through the points-based visa streams.

Although the BCEC report found positive correlations between migrant workers and the labour market in general, it also noted there is more work to be done. The report found migrant workers represent over 40 per cent of the professional workforce in more than half of Australia’s industry sectors but only 60 per cent of migrants from a non-English speaking background were working in well-matched jobs with a number being over-educated.

According to the report, there would be a potential gain of $6 million to the economy if a perfect match between educational qualifications of non-English speaking migrants and the jobs they hold was obtained.

Highlighting the need to improve this disparity, between 2008 and 2018 the number of permanent skilled migrants entering Australia from the United Kingdom dropped from 24,000 to under 5,400, while the number of migrants arriving from Pakistan increased by 184 per cent during this time frame. India topped the list as the largest source country of permanent migrants currently entering Australia under the skilled visa stream with nearly 28,000 Indian migrants in 2018.

For more information or to view the full report, click here.

Mitchell Freeway extension a step closer

Expressions of Interest are being sought from industry for the design and construction of the Mitchell Freeway extension from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road.

Construction of the extension is set to commence in late 2020, subject to environmental and heritage approvals and once complete will facilitate the expansion of Perth’s north-western corridor. The extension will service the suburbs of Butler, Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep as well as Nowergup to the east.

Since 2006 the suburbs of Yanchep, Eglinton and Alkimos have increased their population ten-fold with around 30,000 people now calling the areas home. This number is set to increase further again with State Government population forecasts indicating the area will be home to around 118,000 by 2013, about 1.5 times Mandurah’s population of around 80,000.

For more information, click here.

Panel appointed to help develop new Local Government Act for WA

Wednesday saw the announcement of the Local Government Review Panel, an expert panel to progress the development of a new Local Government Act for Western Australia.

The panel will consider and recommend high-level direction and guiding principles for the new Act and will engage with the sector, community and stakeholders, and make recommendations on the requirements of a new Local Government Act to meet the future needs of local government.

The panel will be chaired by Balcatta MLA David Michael and joined by fellow panel members:

  • Professor John Phillimore, Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy;
  • Local government expert, A/Professor Graham Sansom of the University of Technology Sydney;
  • Ms Anne Wood, Partner at Kott Gunning Lawyers, who specialises in local government law;
  • Mr Henry Zelones, the former long-serving mayor of the City of Armadale; and
  • Mr Duncan Ord OAM, Director General of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

The panel will look at best practice models in Australia and overseas as well as feedback from the recent consultation on WA’s Local Government Act 1995.

Summaries of the findings of the extensive consultation are available here.

WA Retail turnover on the rise

Figures from the ABS about retail turnover in Western Australia during the September quarter provide positivity for the next few months.

During the quarter retail turnover in WA increased 3.3% year-on-year (YoY) to sit at $8.494 billion. This figure represents 10.6% of total national retail turnover for the quarter ($80.29 billion).

While the improvement in the quarter is promising, there is still a long way to go before we can be confident the economy is starting to fully recover.

Site Security Update

Following a reduction in crime reports for August and September, crime reports In October increased once again.

This increase in reporting has continued in November with 6 burglaries reported in the last week.

Among these, boxed appliances were stolen from a site in Eden Beach Estate in Jindalee whilst in Aubin Rise Estate, Aubin Grove offenders entered a site and caused extensive damage after throwing paint over tiles, windows and blinds.

There were 2 burglaries on the same site in the Golden Bay Estate, Golden Bay as well as burglaries in Banksia Grove and Vista Private Estate, Karnup which saw shop doors kicked in, but no property stolen.

To view a full crime report for October click here and for more information on reporting onsite crime, click here.