UDIA in Action

The UDIA WA team were happy to return to the office this week and we hope all of our valued members were able to navigate the four-day circuit breaker lockdown and transitioning restrictions successfully.

It has been another big week for team UDIA WA as we officially lodged our 2021-22 State Budget Submission to the Premier detailing the necessary steps to ensure the development industry can continue to support the economic recovery effort, now and into the future.

We also hosted the first meeting of our newly formed Planning Reform Focus Group, which will formalise and articulate UDIA WA’s official response to the planning reform agenda on behalf of members.

UDIA WA Director of Policy and Research Chris Green attended the DAP Reform – Stakeholder Reference Group meeting on Tuesday with other relevant industry bodies.  The purpose of the group is to help support the implementation of proposed changes to the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system and amendments to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011.

This week we also hosted the latest edition of our Built Form Professional Development Course with Danielle Davison. This course is an invaluable 2-day masterclass, delivered by one of the best in the business, perfect for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge of the built form environment.

We are also excited for the next episode in our Home in WA series is set to go to air this Saturday and we will be watching with anticipation at 5.30pm on Channel 7 to watch the latest instalment.

State Budget Submission

UDIA WA has officially lodged our 2021-22 State Budget Submission with the State Government detailing the measures that will most benefit the development industry when the State Budget is handed down in October.

This State Budget will be a critical step in our state’s road to recovery and it is imperative that those industries, such as ours, that can contribute significantly are recognised and supported appropriately in the upcoming budget.

Creating WA based jobs is the answer to immediate challenges and to the longer-term success of our State. The submission is focused on how the development industry and the State Government can continue to work collaboratively to achieve this objective and provide economic stability that benefits all Western Australians.

The submission identifies recommendations for provision in the State Budget across four key focus areas:

  1. Maximising the Current Market Stimulus Measures;
  2. Unlocking Private Investment Opportunities;
  3. Building Future Proofed Infrastructure; and
  4. Tax Reform

Among our recommendations we highlight the need for supporting built form development, enabling build-to-rent, facilitating the efficient delivery of Perth and Peel @3.5m, re-establishing a strategic assessment of Perth and Peel, as well as addressing the skills challenge and preparing for population growth.

To view the submission in full, including all of our recommendations, click here.

Community Titles Act comes into action

UDIA WA has welcomed the introduction of the Community Titles Act 2018 which began operation on 30 June 2021. The new form of land tenure has the potential to change the way new development is delivered in the state and could facilitate greater innovation and new technology.

A community scheme enables the subdivision of a single parcel of freehold land into multiple schemes, called community titles schemes.

UDIA WA has been a supporter of the introduction of Community Title legislation into WA for several years as community schemes should allow our industry to deliver and manage mixed-use developments much more efficiently.

Community schemes can come in the form of a multi-storey building or a large-scale land development, with new, large-scale land development community schemes allowing an option to manage and deliver community infrastructure differently to how it’s done currently with local government.

Included within this, developers of new estates will be able to include special features or amenities in their project that can be managed under a Community Title scheme, rather than vesting those facilities to the local government to manage into the future and gives scope for developers to be able to create estates with features that are over and above local government standards.

For multi-unit or mixed-use development, the new framework allows the option of a principal management company and subsidiary management companies in a hierarchical arrangement.

This is a very exciting new opportunity for development in Western Australia and we note the enormous amount of work that has gone into delivering the legislation and regulation by the team at Landgate. UDIA WA has welcomed the collaborative spirit in which the consultation has taken place over the last few years.

See more about Community Titles here.

Immediate boost to Western Australian workforce as new date set for Skills Summit

Following the unfortunate postponement of the Skills Summit last week, Premier Mark McGowan has announced the Summit will now take place on Friday 30 July.

The new date was announced along with a range of immediate initiatives the State Government will take to support Western Australia’s skilled worker needs.

Among these new initiatives include a new $5.2 million Jobs and Skills WA Adult Apprentice Employer Incentive (AAEI), which will provide eligible businesses with up to $26,800 when they hire a mature age apprentice.

This will assist with growing WA’s skilled local workforce – maximising job opportunities for mature age apprentices, who are often overlooked by employers due to the higher cost of adult wages.

The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive will also be extended for a further 12 months, with an additional $4 million investment.

The State Government has also expanded the State Nominated Migration Program (SNMP) to provide a skilled migration pathway for temporary visa holders already in Australia.

An additional 134 occupations have been added to the WA Skilled Migration Occupation List from high demand industries.

This will provide industry with immediate access to skilled workers where skilled local workers are not available to take up jobs.

UDIA looks forward to participating in the Summit later this month and directly representing industry’s needs.

More Western Australians to have access to Keystart

This week UDIA WA welcomed the announcement from Minister for Housing and Local Government the Hon. John Carey regarding the extension of lending limits for the Keystart loan scheme.

The announcement means more Western Australians will have access to affordable home ownership through the Keystart home loan scheme, with the income limits, previously increased from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021, but have now been extended to June 30, 2022.

The increase brings Keystart’s total gross borrowing limit to $5.8 billion and will enable Keystart to take on an estimated 2,700 additional loans in 2021-22.

Last financial year Keystart helped 3,977 eligible households into affordable home ownership, the highest since 2009-10. 80% of those loans went to first homebuyers.

Around 2,900 households were also able to transition out of Keystart to a traditional lender or repay their loan, an important step in the home ownership journey, the most since 2015-16.

Housing is a basic human right. UDIA want people to have quality, affordable options that reflect their needs and the inclusion of Keystart in WA provides assistance to those looking to embark on the home ownership journey.

For more information about the announcement including the income limits for 2021-22, click here.

HOME IN WA this Saturday!

This week will see the continuation of UDIA WA’s Home in WA partnership with another of our feature episodes going to air on Channel 7 at 5.30pm on Saturday 10 July.

This week’s episode focuses on the importance of excellent community amenity and infrastructure and features Stockland General Manager Col Dutton discussing the award winning Amberton Beach Coastal Precinct.  Amberton won the Russel Perry Award for Urban Development Excellence in the UDIA WA 2020 Awards for Excellence as well as winning the Excellence in Social & Community Infrastructure award.

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck also provides her insights on the delivery of quality community infrastructure as we continue to educate the community on the excellent work of the development industry.

To view any previous episodes, click here.

National Advocacy Alert

The recent spate of COVID-19 outbreaks confirm it still represents a health and economic challenge to the nation.

UDIA National spent much of the past year focused on endeavours and initiatives designed to sustain the housing and construction industry through the economic effects of COVID-19.

We do know the importance of continuing to look over the horizon for the next round of challenges and opportunities facing the housing construction industry.

To read the update from UDIA National President Simon Basheer, click here.

RBA retains current policy measures

At its July Monetary Meeting, the Reserve Bank Board agreed to maintain the current monetary policy settings in order to continue supporting the economic recovery from the pandemic.

In presenting the results RBA Governor Philip Lowe said that while the situation today is quite different from that in March last year in that Australia is transitioning from recovery to expansion, the central scenario continues to be that the condition for an increase in the cash rate will not be met until 2024.

This condition is for the inflation rate to sit comfortably within the 2-3% range, which typically only happens following stronger wage growth than is currently being seen.

“This focus on wages does not mean we have a target for wages growth or that wages growth necessarily has to have cleared a specific benchmark before we adjust interest rates,” Dr Lowe said. “The condition for a lift in the cash rate relates to inflation, not wages. It is clear that inflation can increase for reasons unrelated to wages and there will be another example of this in the June quarter, when CPI inflation spikes to 3½%. Yet even so, history teaches that sustained changes to the inflation rate are accompanied by sustained changes in growth in labour costs. So, over time, these 2 go together.

“When the RBA staff last prepared a full set of forecasts in May, the central forecast was for growth in the Wage Price Index to pick up, but to do so only gradually. For inflation, the central forecast was for it to just reach 2% by mid 2023. This is the basis of our guidance that we do not expect the cash rate to be increased until 2024 at the earliest.

“I want to re-emphasise the point that the condition for an increase in the cash rate depends upon the data, not the date; it is based on inflation outcomes, not the calendar. The central scenario remains that the condition for a lift in the cash rate will not be met until 2024.”

For more information and to read the speech in full, click here.

New opportunity at UDIA

There is an opportunity to join the team at UDIA WA in the role of Policy Officer.

The role is responsible for supporting the Director of Policy and Research in achieving the objectives of the Institute’s policy and research agenda, and the coordination of the EnviroDevelopment program in Western Australia.

For more information, visit the job advert here.

WA leading the way on plastic reduction

According to the WWF’s new plastics scorecard Western Australia has been named as the best performing state or territory when it comes to tackling plastic pollution.

The 2021 scorecard, produced by WWF-Australia for Plastic Free July, rates the performance of states and territories in addressing the most problematic single-use plastics.

Western Australia was the big winner in this year’s scorecard, edging back ahead of Queensland to claim outright first place.

The WA Government recently announced it would fast-track its plastics plan by four years, phasing out single-use plastic bowls, cups, plates, cutlery, straws, polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags and helium balloon releases by the end of this year.

It also became the first state to take action on plastic coffee cups and lids, adding them to the list of items to be banned by the end of 2022.

Building Approvals down in May

The number of dwellings approved fell 7.1% in May, following a 5.7% decline in April, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week.

Across the country, the number of dwelling approvals fell with Queensland seeing the biggest drop with a -13.1% decline, followed by South Australia (-11.9%), New South Wales (-10.9%) and Western Australia (-8.7%), in seasonally adjusted terms, however dwelling approvals rose in Victoria (3.2%) and Tasmania (2.0%).

Approvals for private sector houses fell across all mainland states with WA seeing the biggest decline at -18.0%, followed by South Australia (-16.9 per cent), Queensland (-13.8 per cent), Victoria (-5.8 per cent) and New South Wales (-4.6 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.

Despite the drop in approvals, the value of total building rose 4.5%, in seasonally adjusted terms and the value of non-residential building rose 28.5%, driven by a large rise in public sector projects approved in May, following a 38.5% fall in April.

The value of total residential building fell 6.7%, comprising a 5.8% fall in new residential building and a 12.7% fall in residential alterations and additions.