From the CEO

Dr D.J. Honey MLA has made his views very clear as the debate over changes to the Planning and Development Act commenced in Parliament this week.

The following quotes are direct from Hansard yesterday:

“It is very clear that the minister and government have an obsession with pleasing a relative handful of influential property developers at the expense of actively dealing with the housing shortage disaster that is affecting our state.”

“It is absolute rubbish to say that applying proper amenity standards increases housing costs. It is simply about maximising profits for land developers. It does not significantly impact the cost of building a house.”

“The problems with the delivery of housing to the public and the community of Western Australia sit at the feet of this government. Its constant name calling and abuse of anyone who criticises anything it does is a distraction from its complete failure to deliver housing to the people of Western Australia.”

So much for bipartisan support for planning reform that assists in the delivery of housing supply.

These comments are simply a distraction from not having any ideas or meaningful contribution as to how Dr Honey would address this housing supply crisis if he were in a position to do so. Perhaps he is unaware that government taxes, charges and regulatory compliance contributes between 30-40% towards the cost of a house and only increasing.

The Member for Cottesloe is fortunate to represent an electorate whose median sale price is $3.26M. I would like to hear the Members’ ideas of how more social and affordable housing can be built in his own backyard, given the median rental price is $1,275 a week.

As I said to the media a couple of weeks ago, every Western Australian deserves a place to call home. This is not an issue to play politics with.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Bring on the next Election.

Industry Lunch sparks debate and discussion

UDIA WA was pleased to host a timely discussion on engaging more positively with local communities in relation to delivering housing diversity, in particular encouraging quality density and infill development in appropriate areas in Perth.

Entitled “Rethinking the Great Australian Dream: A debate on density, design and developing for the future”, the event featured presentations from the Hon. John Carey MLA, Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing; and Homelessness along with Mayor of Striling Mark Irwin and Dr Max Holleran from the University of Melbourne.  Former Mayor of Subiaco Penny Taylor also joined the lively panel discussion that took a very positive approach to the topic.

Minister Carey took to the stage first to outline the latest activity from a State Government perspective in relation to boosting housing supply and focusing on lifting infill rates.  The Minister recognised the need to more effectively bring the community along for the journey when it comes to delivering a more compact and connected city.

That need to more proactively and effectively engage local communities was well followed up my Mayor Irwin who provided a proactive Council perspective on delivering urban infill and density into local neighbourhoods.

Dr Max Holleran, author of Yes to the City: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing rounded out the presentations.  Dr Holleran explored the growth of the YIMBY movement (YES in my back yard) and why more people are calling for denser, more connected cities.

The ‘YIMBY’ movement started in San Francisco and encourages positive attitudes toward sustainable growth and ‘good’ development in our cities to benefit future generations.  The movement claims to promote the ‘silent majority’ of local communities including renters, migrants, young people and students who are often overlooked by more traditional community engagement practices.

In his presentation, Dr Holleran outlined how YIMBYs are seeking more new build development that is well serviced by public transit and that enhances neighbourhood economies.

Interestingly, Dr Holleran outlined why Millennials are predominantly driving the YIMBY movement, given how the 2008 Global Financial Crisis impacted their generation’s buying power and views on urban living.

Many Millennials are open to a greater diversity of housing, where those homes are located and to what height limit.  Dr Holleran says that the feeling of being ‘locked out’ of home ownership due to escalating housing costs is further reinforcing the desire, and need, for more infill development.

While the YES in My Backyard (YIMBY) movement is not necessarily a new phenomenon, that positivity in relation to the possibilities that new development can bring, is something that we need to foster here in Perth if we are going to progress and be able to deliver the housing that we need for the future.

That sentiment was certainly reflected in the panel discussion and in the online audience polls that were conducted during the event.

The first question we asked the audience was what they believed the greatest obstacles are to delivering greater density in Perth and the top three answers were construction costs, local government and NIMBYs.

The second question was what the single biggest lever any level of government could pull to help facilitate supply in an infill context.  The audience’s top three responses were planning reform and reducing red tape, addressing construction costs and community education.

UDIA WA looks forward to continuing the discussion around Perth’s housing needs with all relevant stakeholders.

UDIA National Submission on The HAFF Investment Mandate.

UDIA National has lodged a submission strongly supporting the Government’s proposed Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and Accord investment Mandates (Proposed Mandates), as they will provide the widest possible optionality for Private and Community Housing Providers to fund affordable and social housing in line with UDIA recommendations.

The HAFF Investment Mandate and the Accord Investment Mandate are the critical instructions that tell Housing Australia how it should invest in affordable and social housing under the $10bn HAFF and the Housing Accord. They determine who can receive funding and for what purposes.

Following on from UDIA’s two-year consultation with Treasury, Housing Australia and the Minister’s office, the Proposed Mandates have been drawn up in the most flexible terms in line with our recommendations.

Bar any political changes in the wording prior to passing, the legislation is the best possible outcome for industry, Government and the community. There is the widest possible optionality for market participants to put up HAFF funded projects.

For more information about the UDIA National Submission click here to read the update in full.

Policy Team in Action

As part of UDIA’s ongoing work on the National Housing Pipeline (NHP), the Policy Team met with Water Corporation and Western Power to discuss the Infrastructure Requirements Report.

This report will build on the work done through the NHP process and identify the infrastructure required in development frontiers to unlock the land which is available. The NHP Infrastructure Requirements Working Group provided great detail to work with and we thank them for their efforts to date.

This week we held the final Infrastructure, Climate Action, Built Form and Land Use Planning SAGs for the year where they continued to discuss and progress priority actions aligned with the UDIA WA 2023 Policy Priorities. Matters included:

  • Discussion of priorities for the 2024/25 UDIA Committees as well as the UDIA State Budget Submission.
  • Dialogue between the Built Form SAG and Western Power on a process review scope and the current issues faced.
  • UDIA WA’s advocacy and work regarding environmental assessment processes and procedures as well as life cycle assessment.
  • Updates on ongoing engagement with utility service providers and regulators on various matters.

We would like to thank our 2022/23 SAG members for your hard work and dedication to the betterment of the development industry.

UDIA National Submission on Mobile Telecommunications in New Developments

UDIA National has pressed for Government to make straightforward and practical changes to its proposed policy on provision of Mobile telecommunications infrastructure in new developments in a new submission lodged this week.

The proposed changes will ensure there is no duplication of effort, additional costs nor unnecessary quarantining of land for services where appropriate co-location is possible.

UDIA is also pressing for the Government to streamline consultation of carrier services by allowing consultation with a Carrier referral agency that has high level region-wide knowledge of all infrastructure carrier servicing that is available and planned.

For more information about the UDIA National Submission, including what the Government is intending to do, click here to read the update in full.

State Government looks to bolster rental market

This week the WA State Government announced two new measures designed to provide relief for the rental market in WA.

Earlier today the Government announced new regulations for un-hosted Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) in Western Australia, along with an incentive aimed at returning some properties to the long-term rental market to help increase housing supply.

The reforms, which are designed to strike a balance between better regulation of STRA throughout WA and the rights of individual property owners, will:

  1. Establish a State-wide register for all short-term rental accommodation properties;
  2. Mandate registration of all STRA properties and introduce planning requirements for STRA properties in the Perth metropolitan area, including the need for planning approval for un-hosted STRA properties; and
  3. Introduce a STRA incentive scheme, to be on offer for six months, to encourage property owners to return their STRA properties to the long-term rental market.

The new STRA Incentive Scheme will be in place for six months to encourage property owners to transition short-stay rentals into long-term rental properties now.

The scheme offers a $10,000 payment to property owners willing to switch their STRA properties to the long-term rental market.

To qualify for the $10,000 STRA Incentive Scheme payment, owners must have already had an entire property for rent on short-stay booking platforms, such as Airbnb or Stayz, within the past six weeks. Applicants will be required to provide a minimum 12-month lease agreement to new, long-term tenants through the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.

To protect tenants and ensure the new homes are affordable, a maximum rent chargeable by location (region) will apply. This includes a maximum rent of $800 per week in Perth (including Mandurah) and $650 in the South West. The maximum rent chargeable by location allows room for property owners to charge rents that reflect the conditions for where their property is located.

There will be a two-stage payment process that consists of a $4,000 payment once eligible applications are approved, and a $6,000 payment after the long-term tenancy rental agreement reaches 12 months. STRA property owners can now submit an Expression of Interest online, with the formal application process expected to begin by the end of 2023.

Further information, including frequently asked questions about the STRA Incentive Scheme, including maximum rent chargeable by location, development planning approval reforms and the STRA Register, can be found on the STRA Initiatives web page.

This announcement was preceded by the Cook Government bolstering its cost-of-living support with the ‘WA Rent Relief Program’ (Program) to assist Western Australians at risk of eviction and experiencing rental stress, on Wednesday.

The $24.4 million Program is designed to help financially vulnerable WA tenants remain in their private rental homes.

Under the Program, community service organisations like Anglicare WA and Vinnies WA will identify tenants in need through their existing services and networks, and will assist those tenants in applying for relief.

Relief may involve the payment of arrears, and for some of those, support will also be provided to cover up to 50% of future rent costs for up to three months rent – capped at $5,000.

Tenants will be required to demonstrate they meet the eligibility criteria, which includes experiencing rental stress, being in rental arrears, and being at risk of eviction.

Spaces limited on exclusive site tour

Time is running out for anyone looking to join us in visiting some of WA’s best projects in our exclusive site tour of four Award Winning projects.

The tour will visit four of the UDIA WA 2023 Awards for Excellence Winners, including Exchange at Curtin University by Curtin University, Montario Quarter by DevelopmentWA, Victoria House by Hesperia, and ONE Subiaco by Blackburne Property Group.

The tour includes:

  • Exclusive tour of 4 different projects in Perth
  • Bus transfers between projects and back to Curtin if required for parking purposes
  • Opportunity to talk face-to-face with the project directors and gain a better understanding of what makes these projects stand out.

For more information and to book, click here but be quick as tickets are extremely limited with many spaces on the tour already filled.

New boost for WA’s building and construction workforce

This week the State Government announced its wage subsidy scheme will be expanded, as part of efforts to boost housing supply and affordability in Western Australia.

An additional 150 places have been added to the Group Training Organisation (GTO) Wage Subsidy Program, which is assisting small-to-medium businesses to get more building and construction apprentices and trainees on the job.

The expansion lifts total investment in the program to $66.3 million and builds on the original 300 new jobs already created for apprentices and trainees with Group Training Schemes in WA’s building and construction sector.

In response to industry demand, eligibility for the program was broadened in July to include apprentices and trainees in the residential and commercial construction industry. More than 150 places were then allocated in three months, which exhausted the total program allocation of 300 places.

To build on this momentum, 150 new places will be added from 1 January 2024 to further grow the supply of skilled building and construction workers for industry and get more homes built for Western Australians.

The program has also delivered a boost to regional businesses with 39% of spots allocated to placement of regional apprentices and trainees.

To further boost the pipeline of skilled workers in the building and construction industry, the Cook Government has also committed $5 million for a new pilot program to support private training providers to expand their capacity.

The Capital Grants Program will be funded through the Construction Training Fund and assist successful applicants to upgrade their facilities so they can get more people into training – and bolster the skilled construction workforce to get more homes built.

The program will maximise quality training for in-demand skills, such as electrical and plumbing, and also help boost the workforce needed for WA’s clean energy transition.

More information about the GTO Wage Subsidy Program can be found on the Jobs and Skills WA website here.

Advertise in The Urbanist

The upcoming December edition of UDIA WA’s The Urbanist magazine will focus on ‘New Trends’ and explore the new innovations, technologies and ideas set to shape the future of the development industry and in turn community creation.

There are advertising opportunities available in this edition and if you book before November 17, you can take advantage of our special book 2 full pages and receive a third page free offer.

For more information and to book, please email Chris Thurmott on or click here to view all of our current advertising opportunities and packages.

RBA raises rates for first time in 5 months

Following five months of holding the official cash rate the Reserve Bank of Australia opted to increase the rate by 0.25% at its November Monetary Policy Meeting.

In announcing the decision Reserve Bank Governor Michele Bullock said the board judged an increase in interest rates was warranted to be more assured that inflation would return to target in a reasonable time frame.

“Since its August meeting, the board has received updated information on inflation, the labour market, economic activity and the revised set of forecasts,” Ms Bullock said.

“The weight of this information suggests that the risk of inflation remaining higher for longer has increased.

“While the economy is experiencing a period of below-trend growth, it has been stronger than expected over the first half of the year.”

Following the decision economists were divided over whether there would be further rate rises in either the December or February Monetary Policy Meetings with many waiting to see the outcome of new wages data due out later this month.

Final lot released at Claremont on the Park

The final lot at Claremont on the Park, Lot 512, has been released through an Offers Invited process.

Lot 512 connects the Claremont on the Park development with the revitalised Claremont Station, which is now operational on the Airport Line and was delivered as part of METRONET.

The successful developer will transform the 2,935m2 lot into a mixed-use development suitable for office, commercial and retail uses and is anticipated to provide high-quality offerings to support and complement the multi-award-winning Claremont on the Park precinct.

The Offers Invites process closes on Friday, 8 December 2023.

To find out more, visit here.