From the CEO

What a week it’s been.

We saw The Hon. Roger Cook MLA sworn in today as WA’s 31st Premier, welcomed the Hon. John Carey MLA to the planning portfolio and congratulated the Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA on her well-deserved appointment as Deputy Premier and Treasurer.

When I spoke to Minister Carey yesterday his excitement and energy were palpable. From a housing supply perspective, he now has control over the majority of levers and the monetary levers he doesn’t, we now have an ex-Planning Minister holding the purse strings. This is a solid outcome for our industry.

Speaking of purse strings, with the RBA hiking rates again on Tuesday, talk has now shifted to the probability of a recession. According to economic and political commentator Michael Pascoe in Bunker Bay last week, we are already experiencing a per-capita recession. Citing Perth as “the anti-inflation capital of the country”, he spoke of government failure to invest in social and affordable housing and the need for fiscal policy intervention versus our one-trick pony view of monetary policy to get us out of this mess.

We are all being told to work smarter, not necessarily harder in a desperate attempt to boost flailing productivity. Stephen Yarwood, urban futurist and ex-Mayor of Adelaide suggests the smarts we need could come from Artificial Intelligence if we harness it to create better cities and homes to meet the needs of the future citizen.

While the past may be another country as Pascoe says, the future may be a world apart from where we stand today. Buckle up – we are in for an interesting ride.

Premier Roger Cook’s new cabinet sworn in

Earlier today the Hon. Roger Cook MLA was officially sworn in as Western Australia’s 31st Premier along with his refreshed Cabinet.

Presiding over minimal changes from the Cabinet overseen by outgoing Premier Mark McGowan, Premier Cook confirmed that the Hon. John Carey MLA would add Planning to his list of portfolios including Housing; Lands and Homelessness with the Hon. Rita Saffioti being promoted to Treasurer alongside Transport and Tourism portfolios.

Following the new Cabinet announcement UDIA WA welcomed the news as an opportunity to strengthen our already strong ties with Minister Carey as we look to continue a productive and collaborative relationship with key Government Ministers.

“UDIA WA is looking forward to continuing our positive working relationship with Minister Carey now that he has taken on extra responsibilities under the Planning portfolio,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“The Planning portfolio is a natural fit with his existing areas of responsibility including housing, lands and homelessness.

“The Institute is committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government to address the current dire issues related to housing supply and affordability.”

To view the complete list of Premier Roger Cook’s new Cabinet, click here and to read our Media Release in full, click here.

Early engagement on the Local Development Plan Framework

UDIA WA has participated in early engagement on the planning reform project to review the LDP framework.

The aim of the project is to provide improved and contemporary guidance over how LDPs are prepared, assessed, and used in decision making, and that it will include revisions to the manner and forms for different types, as well as proposed regulatory changes.

Without having yet seen the proposals, UDIA WA provided written feedback to reiterate general comments around the role and importance of LDPs.

We highlighted that reducing the number / use of LDPs should not be the primary driver of this reform project (although it is appreciated this will likely naturally occur over time with the MD Codes). LDPs are an important and valid instrument for orderly and proper planning, particularly in a precinct context and bearing in mind that not everything is residential. There will also still be situations where with justification it is appropriate to use LDPs in a residential context and this should continue to be supported. This was acknowledged by WAPC and DPLH representatives when the MD Codes were in development and industry was assured at that time LDPs would continue to be a valid mechanism where full compliance with the Codes was not achievable.

DPLH confirmed that they are not proposing to remove LDPs from the planning framework, and it is not the intent to limit the scope of LDPs.  The intent is to provide clear, concise and up-to-date guidance which assists local governments and planning practitioners to prepare LDPs that are fit for purpose, including providing a clear understanding of when an LDP is to be prepared, and the information it should contain, as well as providing greater consistency in decision making in relation to the approval of LDPs.

DPLH were invited to engage with the Land Use Planning SAG this week on the project.  The discussion was productive and further feedback and examples demonstrating the appropriate use of LDPs will be provided to assist with the project.

Latest interest rate rise – final nail in the coffin for home buyers?

UDIA WA’s upcoming industry luncheon will include a WA housing market outlook from REA Group’s Cameron Kusher and explore the impact of the latest in a chain of interest rate rises.

Earlier this week RBA Governor Philip Lowe delivered the news millions of homeowners were dreading as the Reserve Bank officially raised the cash rate target by a further 25 basis points to 4.1%, the highest level in 11 years with further rate rises expected in the coming months.

In announcing the decision Dr Lowe said that while inflation in Australia has passed its peak, at 7% it is still too high and it will be some time yet before it is back in the target range.

“This further increase in interest rates is to provide greater confidence that inflation will return to target within a reasonable timeframe,” he said.

“High inflation makes life difficult for people and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts family budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality.

“If high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. Recent data indicate that the upside risks to the inflation outlook have increased and the Board has responded to this.”

While Dr Lowe has said the latest rise is necessary to reign in the already high inflation, with it being the 12th rate rise in just over a year, many commentators have viewed it as the virtual nail in the coffin for housing affordability with even more borrowers expected to head into mortgage arrears. The big question on everybody’s lips is now around what impact the latest rise accompanied by the mounting supply pressures will have for the WA housing market.

To answer this question UDIA will be looking to Cameron Kusher, the REA Group’s Executive Director of Economic Research who will provide an in depth analysis of the WA housing market at our June Industry Luncheon when he will also launch the latest Housing Market Update report from REA Group.

A Q&A panel discussion featuring Alicia Kelly, Don Crellin and Megan Adair will then unpack what the data and insights mean for industry and how buyers are responding in terms of their confidence, expectations and what the future could hold in relation to the challenges and opportunities for the housing market in WA.

All attendees will receive an exclusive copy of the full WA housing market report.

To register, click here but be quick as registrations close Friday 9 June!

Big thanks to JBS&G, Mirvac and nbn for supporting this event.

Policy Team In Action

This week we kicked off the latest round of our Standing Advisory Group meetings, with the Urban Water, Climate Action, Built Form, Land Use Planning and Infrastructure SAGs continuing to discuss and progress priority actions aligned with UDIA WA 2023 Policy Priorities.

Key matters included:

  • Inputs to current planning reform projects, such as on the Local Development Plan framework.
  • Unpacking the impact of multiple layers of costs imposed on infill development (like public art and POS cash-in-lieu requirements for built strata) and potential solutions in that regard to respond to the residential housing supply challenges.
  • Industry challenges and associated education and advocacy, for example around environmental assessments and approvals, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage framework, servicing infrastructure, MD Codes.
  • Strategic infrastructure coordination to unlock development in growth areas aligned with UDIA’s Development Ready Pipeline project.
  • Carbon footprint mapping for land subdivision and the Government’s carbon emission reduction work of relevance to our industry.

Property Undergraduate Degree Survey

Curtin University’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) Property Advisory Panel, is undertaking a Property Undergraduate Degree Industry Survey, as such you are invited to participate in the Property Undergraduate Degree Industry Survey.

Conducted as a partnership between the Australian Property Institute, Urban Development Institute of Australia WA, the Property Council of Australia WA and Curtin University, the survey is designed to capture the views of property professionals who are working with recent university graduates (up to 5 years in industry). It focuses on graduates’ readiness for work and their understanding of the knowledge fields required for accreditation by relevant industry bodies. Findings from this survey will inform improvements to relevant Property courses in the tertiary sector.

The online survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) has approved this study (HRE2023-0027).

To participate, please click on the link here.

The survey is set to remain open until the 17 June 2023.

50 years of UDIA WA celebrated in The Urbanist

This week UDIA WA were proud to release a special edition of The Urbanist celebrating UDIA WA’s 50th Anniversary.

This edition is a bumper 84-page special, featuring interviews with a variety of past presidents, life members, former Executive Directors and related industry figures as we celebrate 50 years of UDIA WA leading the property industry.

This edition features:

  • An exclusive interview with the newly promoted Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Transport and Tourism.
  • Inaugural President Ross Mallett
  • Inaugural Vice President and WA’s first National President Peter Solomon
  • Former Presidents Ken Gilbert, Warwick Hemsley AO, Nick Perrignon, Graham McArthur and Cameron Shephard
  • Life Members Mike Best and Ray Stokes
  • An Op Ed from the Hon. John Carey MLA Minister for Planning; Housing; Lands; Homelessness
  • UDIA WA Vice President Jane Bennett
  • Ryan Hunter
  • And many more

We extend our thanks to all of the contributors to this special commemorative edition and we hope you enjoy reading it, here.

Look to future to finish State Conference

Last Friday futurist Stephen Yarwood officially ended UDIA WA’s 50th Anniversary state Conference with a compelling presentation that laid out what the future might hold following the continued and growing interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Mr Yarwood highlighted that we are set to go through a period of immense change and transformation that many will find difficult to comprehend as humans become more reliant on AI. That change is only expected to escalate at an exponential rate as AI becomes more intelligent.

Mr Yarwood said there has been an exponential rate of change between different human eras, from the neanderthal era around 200,000 years ago through to the agricultural era around 10,000 years ago, the first citizen era around 2,000 years ago, the industrial era around 200 years ago, and right through to the present day with the next era set to occur within the next 30 years.

“What this means is the current phase of humanity will be the first ones to actively cross from one era, the current era we live in, to the next era which will be the era of enhanced Artificial Intelligence,” Mr Yarwood said.

“AI will fundamentally change the operating system of our cities, it will not be like the last 20 years of your life, it is something completely different.”

Following his presentation Mr Yarwood led a workshop session where attendees provided their thoughts on how UDIA WA can strategically prepare for the future and assist the development industry through this expected transition to a new era.  The discussion produced a varied range of insightful responses that will help us to plan for what comes next.

Early engagement on MRWA’s TIA Guidelines Supplement

UDIA WA was invited to participate in stakeholder engagement for the development of a trip generations rates supplement to the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) Guidelines.  UDIA WA, with input from members from our Infrastructure SAG and PJA Australia, provided initial feedback on an advanced draft of the supplement on Tuesday 6 June.

Trip rates are proposed for a number of land uses to supplement those in the existing guidelines.  Generally speaking, there is a reasonable level of consistency between what is proposed and the often-used RTA trip rates.  For residential, low density residential trip rates remain as current but new trip rates are proposed for ‘medium-high density residential’.

It is acknowledged that the need for evidenced-based Western Australian benchmarks for use in planning is there and, if implemented effectively, the supplement could provide more certainty for industry in the assessment of trip generation associated with development where they are not specified in the current guidelines.  However, several comments were made, for example around the:

  • small number of surveys the proposed trip rates are based on;
  • definition of medium-high density residential and the need for further exploration of the difference in trip rates for medium and high-density residential developments.
  • recommended approach to justifying variation from the proposed trip rates, including how comparable sites to survey are determined.

UDIA WA will continue to engage with MRWA, and it is understood the document will be released for public feedback following any amendments from this initial engagement.

Help break the cycle of homelessness with UDIA WA

We are just 2 weeks away from the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout with UDIA WA once again entering a team set to brave the elements and raise much needed funds to help break the cycle of homelessness on 22 June.

In 2022, UDIA WA CEO and Councillors participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout and raised thousands of dollars to support Western Australians who don’t have a roof over their head.

In 2023, UDIA WA are opening up the team to our members who want to join our Councillors and CEO in making a meaningful difference to the lives of those who are less fortunate.

For one night, all of us will be sleeping outside as part of an eye-opening experience to raise awareness and bring home the realities of homelessness.

To help break the devastating cycle of homelessness, we need your support. Will you help us reach our target? Donating $100 can make a huge difference to people who need it most.

If you would like to join UDIA WA’s team this year, register here and join the UDIA WA team here or if you would simply like to support the cause and donate to our team’s efforts, click here.

Less than a month left to enter 2023 Awards for Excellence

Time is fast running out for those companies looking to enter the UDIA WA 2023 Awards for Excellence with nominations set to close at the end of this month.

This prestigious awards program is widely regarded as the pinnacle for the urban development industry in terms of achievement in community creation, innovation and sustainability.

The award winners and finalists represent the very best urban development projects delivered within Western Australia, and are reflective of the growth of best practices and industry as a whole.

Start your entry here. For more information on criteria, guidelines, glossary, tips & how to’s download the nominations kit here.