From the CEO

I said last week that a week was a long time in politics.

That couldn’t be more true today as we see the fight for pre-selection in the Liberal held seat of Cottesloe take off with Sandra Brewer putting her hat in the ring as a highly credible challenger for David Honey. Already we have seen Dr Honey commence his #savecottesloe campaign on social media so this is a battle that will be fought against the YIMBY and the NIMBY. Make sure you grab some popcorn.

We’ve also seen Hannah Beazley, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing and Homelessness get the green light to join the Cook Cabinet today, where she will take on the Local Government and Youth portfolios, along with becoming Minister assisting the Minister for Training and Workforce Development. Ms Beazley’s work alongside Minister Carey will be beneficial for our industry as will the Energy portfolio being handed to Reece Whitby adding to his Environment and Climate Action portfolios.

On Monday, I attended the StreamlineWA meeting along with our industry body colleagues CME, CCIWA and WALGA in Geraldton. The focus on streamlining environmental assessments and approvals has been a core focus of StreamlineWA and UDIA over the last 12 months, with UDIA WA engaging comprehensively in the reform conversation in many ways and which we understand, is about to bear fruit. That followed a workshop held last week with the senior leadership of DWER to identify priority areas of focus for our members over the next 12 months as Michelle Andrews departs the Director General role and Alastair Jones from Treasury takes the reigns – albeit temporarily.

Our new look UDIA WA Council met yesterday, with a focus on finalising our Pre-Budget Submission and ensuring our 100+ army of committee volunteers are provided with the leadership and direction needed to hit the ground running in 2024. Today, our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group met with the team to finalise our REFLECT RAP plan ready for Council endorsement in February.

There is no winding down, only winding up as we close out 2023 with momentum, motivation and a clear focus on an even more impactful year in 2024.

Premier Cook confirms Cabinet reshuffle

This afternoon Premier Roger Cook announced his cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of Minister Bill Johnston last week.

Victoria Park MLA Hannah Beazley will enter the Cook Cabinet and will take on the Local Government and Youth portfolios, along with becoming Minister assisting the Minister for Training and Workforce Development.

The portfolios previously held by Mr Johnston will be shared among different Ministers, with Reece Whitby adding Energy to his Environment and Climate Action portfolios and David Michael adding the Mines and Petroleum portfolio to his responsibilities for Ports; Road Safety and being Minister assisting the Minister for Transport.

Premier Roger Cook will take responsibility for Hydrogen Industry, as part of his State and Industry Development, Jobs and Trade portfolio, while Minister Simone McGurk will take on the Industrial Relations porfolio.

Minister Paul Papalia will add the Racing and Gaming portfolio to his existing responsibilities and Cockburn MLA David Scaife will become Parliamentary Secretary to Minister John Carey, filling the vacancy created from Ms Beazley’s elevation to Cabinet.

Western Power advocacy engagement

UDIA WA has been working proactively with Western Power on a range of fronts over the past 18 months to ensure that critical issues impacting the timely securing of clearances, energisation and delivery of housing supply are addressed.

As your industry body, UDIA WA’s primary focus is effectively representing the development industry on the critical issues that impact our member’s ability to deliver land and quality housing options to the WA market efficiently and affordably.

Our approach to advocacy is to collaborate where possible and provide positive, solutions-based advice and recommendations to stakeholders so that meaningful impact can be achieved.

To view the latest update regarding our advocacy and engagement with Western Power, click here.

New edition of The Urbanist released

This week UDIA WA were pleased to release the latest edition of our member-exclusive magazine The Urbanist.

This latest edition of The Urbanist is themed around new trends, looking at the ideas, innovations and technologies set to shape the future of property, the development industry and the creation of new communities.

From the role of artificial intelligence to insights around the future of placemaking, this edition will provide food for thought for what could be implemented in your new project or organisation.

This edition features:

  • An exclusive interview with the UDIA WA 2023 Women in Leadership Award winner Nicole Lockwood
  • Senior OECD Economist Stijn Broeckeoutlining the mega trends that will impact labour markets globally and Minister for Training; Water and Youth the  Simone McGurk discussing labour market issues from a localised, government perspective
  • A look at the importance of placemaking with renowned urban planner Mike Dayand Town Teams’ Emma Snow
  • An Op Ed from Minderoo CEO John Hartman
  • UDIA WA’s partnership with Cerclos, DevelopmentWA and Cedar Woods to commission a research project to complete a Life Cycle Carbon Assessment of Infrastructure works for three land developments
  • And much more including a new look for our highly respected EnviroDevelopment certification program plus advice from Proven Project Management Director Neill Laurensonon the requirements for effectively installing EV infrastructure into new developments

We hope you enjoy reading this edition, which can be read by clicking here.

WA Climate Change Bill 2023 Update

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) have provided UDIA WA with an update to the Western Australian Climate Change Bill 2023 which was tabled in Parliament on 30 November 2023.

The legislation formalises the target of net zero emissions by 2050 and requires interim targets to be set for both Western Australia and the State Government.

Interim targets will be set as both point targets and emissions budgets, with the first interim target for 2035 requiring an emissions budget for the years 2031 to 2035. This target will need to be set as soon as practicable after the Australian Government sets its corresponding target for 2035, which will occur in 2025. This timeframe allows Government, business, and industry to make the necessary investments to deliver deep cuts to emissions and establish a pathway to net zero emissions.

The provisions of the legislation are robust compared to other Australian framework legislation. While the setting of both point targets and emissions budgets follows Commonwealth practice, Western Australia will be the only state jurisdiction to take this approach.

The Climate Change Bill 2023 complements existing legislation covering significant sources of emissions in the economy, including the Australian Government’s Safeguard Mechanism. The Safeguard Mechanism covers more than half of Western Australia’s emissions and imposes enforceable emissions reductions on covered facilities.

Western Australia is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves, high-risk bushfire weather, extreme rainfall events and rising sea levels. The legislation will support enhanced resilience to the impacts of climate change by requiring development of climate adaptation strategies and sector adaptation plans.

Consultation on the legislation was undertaken between September and October 2023 with a cross-section of the community, including First Nations people, peak representative bodies from industry, agriculture, water and conservation sectors, Australian and State Government agencies, local government, government trading enterprises, universities, advocacy groups and non-government organisations. The department received approximately 260 submissions on the legislation, which have been considered in development of the final Bill.

The Climate Change Bill 2023 and Explanatory Memorandum is available on the WA Parliament Hansard website.

Further information on the Bill, including updated responses to frequently asked questions, is available on the WA Government Climate Change legislation website.

Parliamentary debate of the Western Australian Climate Change Bill 2023 will commence in early 2024.

DAP Engagement

The Policy Team has been engaging with members of the Land Use Planning SAG to understand the industry’s experiences with the Development Assessment Panel process in anticipation of a meeting on Friday with Ryan Keys, the newly appointed Executive Director DAP – DPLH.

It has been great to hear insights on where the system is working well, on the recent reforms and on opportunities for further enhancement.

Challenges were also raised regarding local government processing of applications and the evolution of and experiences with the Design Review Panel process.  Providing such industry feedback and perspective is important to ensure a streamlined and efficient approvals process to enable the delivery of much needed housing supply.

Rotto event ends year with a bang

Last Friday UDIA WA ended our events program for 2023 with our sensation Rotto Beachside Bash.

From the perfect weather to the friendly quokkas that joined the party, Rottnest put on an incredible show for our members to unwind, relax and catch up with friends and colleagues and celebrate what has been another extraordinary year.

You can view images from the event here and we would like to pass on a big thanks to MNG and Douglas Partners for supporting this event once again.

UDIA WA Christmas fundraiser

Homes for Homes is UDIA WA’s Charity Partner for 2023-24. This Christmas we would like to encourage our members to make a donation to Homes for Homes by using this unique link.

All donations made using this link will go toward UDIA WA’s Homes for Homes Christmas Fundraiser.

To find out more about Homes for Homes and the fantastic work they do toward ending homelessness by building social and affordable housing, visit here.

Planning reforms to accelerate housing delivery pass Parliament

In its final sitting session for 2023 last week State Parliament passed Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2023, which is designed to accelerate the delivery of housing supply across the State.

The new Bill enables the delivery of the Cook Government’s priority planning reforms, which were identified through community and industry consultation undertaken over the past six years.

Key elements of the Bill to facilitate the acceleration of housing delivery and cut unnecessary red tape include:

  1. a new permanent, significant development pathway for projects;
  2. clearer decision-making in local government for single houses;
  3. changes to Development Assessment Panels;
  4. updates to existing planning processes, to further cut red tape and duplication; and
  5. reform of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

The new permanent significant development pathway will create a streamlined, efficient and coordinated pathway for complex proposals of more than $20 million in the Perth and Peel regions and of more than $5 million in regional WA.

For single house developments, the legislation requires decision-making by the local government administration and not the council, except where heritage is involved. These applications will be determined by technical experts, through the Chief Executive Officer or local government employees, ensuring a more efficient process for homeowners.

Other reforms include changes in the membership and operations of the WAPC, a reduction in the number of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) from five to three and the appointment of fixed-term full-time members and changes in eligibility thresholds for DAPs.

The Western Australian government committed to introducing climate change legislation to Parliament this year to create a framework for Western Australia’s response to climate change and ensure Western Australia contributes to national and global mitigation efforts.

Refer a new member and save!

UDIA WA are providing an opportunity for our members to receive 25% off the cost of a table booking to an Industry Lunch or Breakfast.

The discount is available to members that refer a new company to become a member with UDIA WA, however the discount is only available if the referred company joins by 29 February 2024.

The 25% discount is applicable to a table booking for a UDIA WA Industry Lunch or Breakfast until 30 June 2024.

New members that join before 29 February 2024 will have the joining fee waived.

For more information, contact

UDIA National Congress Early Bird Extension

In the spirit of the festive season the Early Bird ticket pricing for the UDIA National Congress has been extended to 5pm Friday 8 December.

The program for the 2024 UDIA National Congress, to be held in Melbourne, is building nicely with several high-profile speakers including Luci Ellis, Nathan Del Bon, Mark Farmer, Jennifer Keesmaat and Dean Boxall already confirmed to inspire and engage at the national event.

For your chance to save $330 on your ticket, make sure you book your spot here by 5pm Friday 8 December.

Limited Accommodation for Congress dates still available. Secure these at the same time as booking your Congress and National Awards tickets.

RBA holds rate in final meeting of 2023 & new Chief Economist announced

The last Reserve Bank of Australia Monetary Policy Meeting for 2023 has provided a slight respite for homeowners with the Board choosing to hold the official cash rate target following softer than expected inflation figures.

The decision means the official cash rate target will remain at 4.35% until the Board meets again in February 2024.

For more information, read Reserve Bank Governor’s official statement, here.

Further news out of the RBA this week has seen Sarah Hunter appointed as the RBA’s Chief Economist and Assistant Governor (Economic). In this role, Sarah will lead the Bank’s Economic Group which compromises Economic Analysis and Economic Research.

Sarah will commence on 29 January 2024.

For more information, read the media release here.

UDIA National TV with Housing Australia

Tomorrow morning at 6.30am (WA Time) UDIA will be hosting a special complimentary UDIA TV event featuring a presentation from Housing Australia, the independent national housing authority whose purpose is to improve housing outcomes by helping more Australians to access affordable, safe and secure housing.

Housing Australia’s role is supporting the delivery of 40,000 affordable and social dwellings over the next 5 years under the Federal Government’s National Housing Accord and Housing Australia Future Fund initiatives.

Our industry is a crucial lynchpin for driving the majority of projects.

Housing Australia’s Chief Credit Officer, Rowena Johnston will give you insights on how you can be a part of accelerating Australia’s housing agenda and a snapshot of HA’s strategy for boosting housing supply over the next decade.

Click here to book in for this complimentary online event on Friday 8 December.

Western Australia continues to power the nation

New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that WA’s domestic economy grew 2.4% in the September quarter, 5.5% larger than it was this time last year.

The figures show this is the strongest rate of growth in the country, with it being more than double the growth in national domestic economic activity at 2.2%.

In dollar terms, the State’s domestic economy expanded by $1.6 billion in the September quarter, accounting for more than 50% of the national increase of $3.1 billion.

Between the September quarter 2022 and September quarter 2023, Western Australia’s economy contributed almost 30% of the total national growth.

WA’s business investment in the September 2023 quarter also increased by 8.8% – the largest in the nation – and is up 16.8% compared to the same quarter last year.

Western Australia’s economy has grown by a cumulative 18.6% since the pandemic, which is the strongest growth of any other jurisdiction and 60% higher than national growth of 11.4%. WA is also the only State economy to have grown in every quarter since June 2020.

$2.8 billion investment to secure Perth’s next major water source

The State Government will provide $2.8 billion to secure Perth’s next major source of drinking water, the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant.

Site works have now begun at the location for the future 100-billion-litre seawater desalination plant, heralding a significant milestone in its delivery.

The new plant is set to be the third of its kind in Western Australia, and will be adjacent to an existing wastewater treatment plant on land that is to become known as the Alkimos Water Precinct.

Georgiou Group has been awarded a $29.8 million contract to prepare the site for construction, with early works to include sinking of the site into the landscape and extending a large, vegetated sand dune to shield the plant from view and create a noise buffer.

The entire contract value will be spent locally, with almost $13 million directed to WA subcontractors and 14 per cent spent with Aboriginal businesses.

Around 70 local jobs will be created, including opportunities for apprentices and trainees.

Announced last year, the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant will support long-term water security for more than 2.5 million Western Australians who receive drinking water through the Integrated Water Supply Scheme.

The plant will have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation, and will allow Water Corporation to reduce its groundwater allocation by 30 billion litres a year – helping to preserve healthy wetlands, parks, forests and public open spaces in Perth’s north.

The project has received environmental approval from Commonwealth and State regulators, as well as from an independent Development Assessment Panel.

A contract to design, construct, and operate the plant will be awarded in early 2024, with the first 50-billion-litre stage scheduled for completion in 2028.