Latest episode of The Urbanist Live

UDIA WA is proud to release the fourth episode of our popular new podcast series The Urbanist Live.

This episode features a conversation between UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green as they discuss the continued impact of the housing stimulus measures on our market as well as looking at how industry will be able to continue to deliver quality product in the wake of the spike in demand.  Chris refers to a range of newly released data including information included in UDIA’s Urban Intelligence Report and our state budget submission.

To listen to this episode, click here.

UDIA lodges State Budget Submission

UDIA WA recently lodged our 2020/21 State Budget Submission that clearly lays out several practical and achievable recommendations that we believe should be included in the State Budget, due for release in October.

The submission is focused on how the development industry and the State Government can continue to work collaboratively to achieve the objective of creating WA based jobs and provide economic stability that benefits all Western Australians.

The submission identifies several short, and longer-term recommendations 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

To view the Submission in full, click here.

HV Pool Governance Committee gaining traction

At the end of last week, UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck and UDIA WA Vice President Jeremy Cordina attended the latest governance committee meeting for the HV Pool with Western Power.

The new governance arrangements are already delivering results with greater transparency, timely decision making and close monitoring of the pool balance.

UDIA WA will continue to keep members updated on further progress with the HV Pool and will pass on additional information as and when it is needed.

Latest market commentary released

On Tuesday, UDIA WA released the latest edition of our monthly Urban Intelligence Report.

This month’s edition continues to track the impact from the housing stimulus measures and highlights an uptick in Housing Approvals from previous months.

This edition also features an article from UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green outlining our 2020/21 State Budget Submission which was delivered to the State Government this week and can be viewed here.

To view the latest edition of the Urban Intelligence, click here.

The Urbanist Edition #3 launched tomorrow

The latest edition of The Urbanist will be launched at tomorrow’s sell out Medium Density Design Code industry luncheon.

This edition focuses on innovation and showcases how innovation is about more than just having access to the latest technology and gadgetry.  We feature how at the heart of true innovation is having the right culture to allow it to happen.

Articles range from looking into the issue of homelessness in Western Australia, the use of alternative materials to how new technologies are shaping the urban development industry.

Key local contributors to this edition include:

  • Paige Walker
  • Dr Josh Byrne
  • Minister for Community Services Simone McGurk
  • Western Power CEO Ed Kalajzic
  • Water Corporation CEO Pat Donovan

Hard copies of this edition will be available to collect at tomorrow’s lunch and one copy will be sent to each UDIA Member organisation’s key representative early next week when we will also release the digital copy.

In the meantime, to read previous editions, click here.

UDIA National Submissions

UDIA National are in the process of finalising a submission to the Federal Minister for Housing to consider when reviewing the Homebuilder stimulus package and UDIA National also recently delivered a new submission to the Australian Building Codes Board regarding the proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC).

The Homebuilder II submission will include various adjustments to criteria to broaden the eligibility and impact on jobs and the economy by addressing design features that had meant apartment, townhouse and staged land release projects, in the main, did not benefit from the Scheme.

The recently delivered submission regarding the proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the NCC details UDIA’s support of the Building Ministers Forum goal of increasing the choice of housing options for people with a disability and/or ageing in place. However, UDIA believes the costs of a mandatory and/or sector-wide approach to achieving this goal significantly outweigh the benefits under the central estimates for all of the options tested and would not be commensurate with the level of demand for accessible housing.

Assessments undertaken by our members also indicate that the costs of delivery of new homes, particularly class 2 (apartments) identified in the report are very conservative and not reflective of contemporary construction delivery realities.

Overall, UDIA supports the preliminary recommendation of the RIS report; that in general, the costs associated with including an accessible housing standard in the NCC are estimated to outweigh the benefits. UDIA also indicates these costs would not be well targeted to the need and rather have significant negative impacts on housing affordability and housing supply and employment associated with residential construction in general.

UDIA recommends support for targeted subsidy and housing incentive schemes rather than increasing general homebuyer costs. This would spread and reduce the cost burden of increased accessibility across the broad cross spectrum of the community in line with the whole-of-community responsibility for improving quality of life for Australians with disabilities.

To read the submission in full, click here.

Women in Leadership judging commences

Earlier today judging for the 2020 Women in Leadership Award officially commenced.

The applications for each of the nominees was analysed in depth before the nominees were invited for an interview by judges UDIA WA CEO and Industry Workforce & Diversity Committee Co-Chair Tanya Steinbeck, current Women in Leadership winner and Industry Workforce & Diversity Committee Co-Chair Tiffany Allen and UDIA WA Vice President Jane Bennett.

We would like to thank all of the nominees for this highly prestigious award and wish them all the best of luck. Winners will be announced at our Award for Excellence Gala event in February.

Infrastructure WA submission

UDIA WA recently provided a submission to Infrastructure WA in response to A Stronger Tomorrow – the State Infrastructure Strategy Discussion Paper.

UDIA fully supports the intent and objectives of the Strategy, which provides an essential governance framework and platform for obtaining Federal Government funding. Furthermore, it also offers a framework that can help better leverage and maximise public and private sector investment in WA.

Whilst the adoption of an infrastructure strategy will help the private sector identify and leverage investment opportunities, it is important that government approval and other statutory processes are aligned and streamlined to help reduce unnecessary private sector costs and ensure that capital investment in WA is fully realised.

UDIA is keen to remain involved with the IWA Strategy and we would welcome the opportunity to continue the dialogue with IWA as they progress through the next stages of establishing the strategy.

To read the submission in full, click here.

New WA museum receives official name

Earlier this week the State Government officially announced the name of the new WA Museum, which is set to officially open later this year.

The new museum is named WA Museum Boola Bardip with Boola Bardip meaning many stories in Noongar language.

The name recognises that the museum sits on Whadjuk Noongar land, and honours the cultural heritage of Australia’s First Peoples. It also acknowledges the shared cultural heritage of the nearly 2.9 million people who call Western Australia home.

Government issues new Telecommunication in New Developments policy

The Australian Government has released a new Telecommunication in New Developments (TIND) policy – which outlines developers’ and nbn’s responsibilities to deliver telecommunications infrastructure to new developments in Australia. The policy came into effect on 1 September 2020.

Revisions have been made to make the TIND policy shorter and clearer, as well as provide better outcomes for the development industry.

The key change centres around developer contribution charges. The new policy allows nbn to charge up to capped amounts, with the flexibility to charge below these amounts as part of a commercial arrangement.

A capped charges model that allows nbn to charge less than previous fixed charges helps to promote fairness and competition amongst all telecommunications carriers, which will help enable greater efficiency and innovation to the development industry and consumers.

The new policy also outlines nbn’s responsibility to provide access to broadband services in new developments if a developer is unable to find another carrier. It’s important to note however, that the carrier you choose will be the carrier you have for the life of the project.

To find out more or review the new TIND policy, visit here.

WA jobs returning but struggling nationally

New Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released this week found 88% of jobs in the State lost due to COVID-19 were recovered by 22 August.

The ABS Payroll Jobs data also showed WA has had the lowest number of jobs lost since mid-March at 1%, compared to 4.2% nationally.

Nationally, since the week ending 14 March 2020 (the week Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case) payroll jobs in the construction industry have decreased 5.8% with total wages decreasing 9.4%. For the rental and real estate industry total payroll jobs have decreased 8.6% over the same period, with a 10.4% decrease in total wages.

The total number of payroll jobs has decreased 4.2% with total wages decreasing 5.2% on a National scale, while in WA, the total payroll jobs have decreased 1.0% with total wages decreasing 5.4%.

The June quarter saw the number of filled jobs in Australia decrease by 6.4% following a 0.1% fall in the March quarter (seas. adj.) while the overall total number of jobs decreased by 7.0% led by a 7.1% fall in the private sector and 1.9% fall in the public sector.

These falls led to the total number of employed people decrease by 5.4% to 12.8 million, with the number of multiple job holders also decreasing by 22.7%.

Across the country total jobs in the construction industry decreased 6.7% in the June quarter compared with a 2.5% increase during the March quarter. The decrease in the June quarter was also 3.0% down on the same time last year. The number of job vacancies decreased 44.1% QoQ (-9.6% on the June quarter 2019) compared to a 6% decrease over the March quarter.

COVID-19 inspired rent laws extended beyond September

Earlier today the State Government announced it would be extending the emergency period under WA’s Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 and the moratorium on rent increases and other provisions until 28 March, 2021.

The move means existing laws, including the moratorium on evictions, freeze on rent increases and code of conduct for small business commercial lease rent relief negotiations, will continue to apply in a more targeted manner until this date.

After September 29, 2020, when the current arrangements were due to end, WA’s commercial tenancies (COVID-19) legislation will be refined to offer assistance to small businesses that continue to experience financial hardship resulting from the pandemic and qualify for JobKeeper (or their loss in turnover is more than 30%).

These changes will be achieved through regulations currently being drafted.

The code will continue to apply after September 29, 2020, only to those tenants who are able to demonstrate ongoing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Building Approvals on the rise but values dropping

July saw a rise in the seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved as it increased by 12.0% across the country.

Within this the seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector houses rose 8.5% in July (the largest jump since January 2014) and the seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 22.7% after falling to an eight year low in June.

In terms of value of total building approved, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell 3.9% in July. The value of residential building rose 9.5%, while the value of non-residential building fell 19.8% after rising 20.7% in June.

Within WA the total number of dwelling units approved in the greater Perth area (original numbers) increased 9.01% MOM (+10.10% YOY) and the total value of building jobs approved increased 2.1% MOM (-2.82% YOY) in July.

During July the number of number of new owner-occupier housing loan commitments for the constructions of dwellings in WA saw an increase of 1.25% compared with the previous month and an increase of 1.8% compared to July 2019. Despite this rise, the number of new housing loan commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings decreased 1.85% compared with June but this was 19.55% up on the same period last year.

The number of new loan commitments for the purchase of existing dwellings increased 19.73% MoM and 12.87% YOY, and the number of new loan commitments for the purchase of residential land saw the biggest increase with a 90.91% rise on June 2020 and an 110.0% increase on July 2019.

The number of new investor housing loan commitments made for the construction of new dwellings saw a decrease of 8.11% compared with June but this was 29.17% up on last year, while the number of new housing loan commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings saw the reverse with an increase this month of 10.0% compared with June but this was 24.14% down on July 2019.

New loans for the purchase of existing dwellings increased 14.45% MoM and 10.59% YoY and the number of housing loans for the purchase of residential land increased 115.63% in comparison with June and was also 30.19% up on the same period last year.

The number of new housing loan commitments by first home buyers increased 22.19% MoM and 20.59% YOY in Western Australia.

Nationally the number of new housing loan commitments made by foreign buyers decreased 10.99% MoM but this was 10.49% up YoY.

Victorian retail struggles

Victoria was the only State in the country to see a fall in their retail trade during July 2020, however due to the re-introduction of COVID-19 related restrictions, this is to be expected.

In seasonally adjusted terms they recorded a 2.1% fall whereas all of the other states experienced growth in the month with New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory recording the biggest rises at 5.9% and 5.8% respectively.

Elsewhere in the country Queensland saw a 5.0% lift, Tasmania rose 4.2%, Western Australia lifted by 3.8% and the Northern Territory and South Australia recording the lowest growth figures at 3.1% and 2.9% respectively.

UDIA requests for feedback

UDIA is working on submissions and responses in relation to the following.  Members are encouraged to provide feedback and comments to inform our submissions to by the specified dates below:

Proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 here – due 18 September 2020

WAPC Draft Operational Policy 2.4 – Planning for School Sites (here), closes 5pm 19 October – review has been an opportunity to improve strategic school site planning, address known issues on locational and physical site requirements for schools, and provide clarity and transparency on the methodology and application of developer contributions for public primary schools.

Site Security Update

August continued to see a reduction in reported onsite crime with a 55% decrease in burglaries from the monthly average, although reports were low there was a substantial theft report from a Civil Construction site in the Catalina Estate, Mindarie.

Unseen offenders removed a submersible pump, valued at $30,000, from an installed onsite well casing in a bush area on the estate. Illegal rubbish dumping continues to be a significant financial impact on the industry and investigators continue to liaise with local government to identify offending persons, issue infringement where possible, and assist in the removal of rubbish from sites and land development areas.

For more information, click here.