UDIA National Member Alert: Government stimulus package unveiled

The Commonwealth Government has today released details of its $17.6 billion stimulus package in response to the global and domestic economic effects of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled details of the package, with forecasts that it represents a 1.2% boost to the nation’s GDP.

It also follows a speech earlier this week where the Prime Minister said:

“Whatever you thought 2020 was going to be about. Think again. We now have one goal, together, this year – to protect the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of Australians through the global crisis, and to ensure that when the recovery comes, and it will, we are well positioned to bounce back strongly on the other side.”

The stimulus package has a dedicated focus on cash flow across the economy, business and employment continuity and consumer confidence.

Its headline features include:

  • A $6.7 billion provision for tax-free payments between $2000 and $25,000 for businesses with turnover up to $50 million – calculated based on withholding tax obligations on employee salaries. This is estimated to benefit up to 690,000 companies employing 7.8 million people.
  • A $1.3 billion package to support retention of apprenticeships, with up to $7000 per quarter available as a wage subsidy to support retention or employment of apprentices in businesses of less than 20 employees. This is backdated to January 1 and supports up to 120,000 jobs.
  • Expanding the instant asset write off scheme – with the write-off threshold rising from $30,000 to $150,000, and turnover threshold for businesses rising from $50 million to $500 million. Eligible businesses total 3.5 million.
  • A 50% accelerated depreciation deduction over and above existing deductions, available to June 30, 2021.
  • A $750 one-off payment to aged pension, Newstart recipients and other welfare recipients – with an estimate 6.5 million people receiving the payment.
  • Creation of a $1 billion regional community fund to support hard-hit regions and sectors, with a focus on tourism and export industries.

The Prime Minister confirmed a budget deficit for the current financial year – with $11 billion of all funds estimated to be spent by June 30, 2020 and most initiatives commencing immediately.

However, he emphasised no initiatives extend beyond June 30, 2021 to avoid a ‘fiscal hangover’ – though did leave the door open to further work leading into the May Budget.

For context, the GDP impact of the package – estimated to be 1.2% – is larger than the stimulus effect of the first tranche of GFC stimulus.

UDIA National has welcomed the package as we recognise housing markets and new home construction are highly exposed to broader economic and consumer sentiment.

At a time when elements of housing markets are showing tentative signs of life, it is essential governments focus on maintaining economic activity and growth.

We do however urge governments to keep an open mind, depending on the trajectory of the virus and the economy, to further measures that stimulate economic growth and housing construction.

Housing and construction are fundamental to the nation’s economic wellbeing – accounting for 7.5 percent of growth and 750,000 direct and indirect jobs.

A further round of measures that could be considered include:

  • Releasing a second tranche of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme that is exclusively geared towards people buying newly constructed homes to help supply and activity
  • Accelerating funding of large and small infrastructure projects identified by the Infrastructure Australia Priority List released last month
  • Pulling forward red tape reforms such as streamlining elements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and working with the states and territories on inefficient planning systems.

Details of the Government’s package can be viewed here.

UDIA WA welcomes new Council members

Earlier this week the UDIA State Council officially welcomed two new Council members following the departures of Vivienne Edwards and Kim Lawrance.

Danielle Davison of Davison Advisory and Craig Shepherd from PwC have been appointed to fill the vacancies and UDIA WA is excited by the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to an already impressive line-up of Council Members.

Danielle and Craig will join the full council at the next Council meeting in April.

For more information about UDIA WA State Council, see here.

Planning Matters provides platform for debate

Wednesday morning saw UDIA WA host our first Industry Breakfast for 2020 as WAPC Chairman David Caddy and DPLH Director General Gail McGowan provided insights into Planning Matters.

To read the summary about this event, click here.

UDIA WA welcomes new staff members

Within the last week UDIA WA has welcomed two new staff members to the team.

Luke van den Hoek joined last Thursday as the new Policy and Research Officer, covering the position while Carissa Gautam will be on maternity leave.

Monday saw the arrival of Georgia Scott as the new Event Coordinator, filling the vacancy being left by Montana Hall who is moving to Melbourne at the end of the month.

$1,000 Crown Gift Card offer to UDIA Members

Crown Perth are offering UDIA WA members an exclusive opportunity to receive a $1,000 Crown Gift card when booking your next conference, event or meeting with them.

The promotion applies to all new bookings with a minimum spend of $15,000 on food and beverage but is only available to events booked before 30 March 2020 so don’t delay. Events need to be held before 30 June 2021.

Don’t forget to quote UDIA21 to apply this special offer to your booking. See here for more information about this exceptional opportunity.

UDIA Submission: Community Titles Act 2018 Discussion Paper

Last Friday, UDIA WA delivered a submission on the Discussion Paper: Planning and Development, Community Titles Act 2018.

Within the submission UDIA provided an overarching recommendation for the implementation of Community Titles schemes before addressing each of the questions posed in the Discussion Paper.

UDIA is encouraged by the potential for community titles to facilitate innovation in the design and delivery of mixed-use and higher density development and by the opportunities it provides through the greater use of shared infrastructure. These opportunities will further support the delivery of sustainable infrastructure and more innovative development outcomes.

In order to achieve these desired outcomes however, it is imperative that the development of community title schemes is an attractive development option for proponents of both built form and master-planned developments.

With this in mind, it is essential that the community title approval process is efficient and affords development proponents with appropriate levels of certainty to support investment decisions whilst also providing sufficient longer-term flexibility to react to changing market dynamics.

To ensure this is achieved, UDIA suggests that the full development approval process for community title schemes is prepared and, using different development scenarios or case studies (including both master-planned and built form communities), the proposed approval process is compared against an equivalent development scheme utilising existing forms of land tenure. This process could help identify and remove any unnecessary duplication from the community title development approval process, thereby avoiding uncertainty and unnecessary delay.

Whilst it is important that the Community Titles Act and Community Development Statement provide appropriate levels of certainty, it is also important that they provide sufficient opportunity for flexibility and innovation; particularly for larger, or more complex schemes which may take several years to be fully developed. Therefore, the Institute suggests that the approval process modelling discussed above is extended to examine the practicability of enabling amendments to approved community title schemes.

To read the submission in full, including UDIA’s responses to each question posed by the Discussion paper, click here.

Urban Intelligence February edition released

The latest edition of UDIA’s monthly Urban Intelligence report was released to members on Tuesday, revealing some turbulent results for the Western Australian economy while the property and construction industries continue to feel the pinch of a prolonged downturn.

This edition also includes a feature article from UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green who analysed the potential impacts on the economy from the coronavirus. While it is still too soon to know the full impacts of the virus, Mr Green’s article highlighted there will likely be a contraction in Q1 GDP and identified the need for Australia and Western Australia, in particular to diversify its trading partners.

However many, including Westpac, are predicting that Australia will go into recession in the first half of the year but with an uptick in the second half, leaving Australia with a growth of 1.6 per cent in the year to December 2020.

Whether we do see economic growth before the year is out, it is fairly safe to say things will likely get worse before they get better.

To read the full Urban Intelligence, click here.

Urban Development Index video released

UDIA WA has released a brief summary video detailing some of the key stats from the latest edition from the Urban Development Index.

The information relates to the December Quarter 2019 and highlights the land sales data for the last three months of 2019.

To view the video click here.

Special Committee meeting: Landgate Presentation on SLIP, Land Enquiry Services and enhanced Mapviewer

On Wednesday, UDIA WA Principal Research Partner Landgate provided an overview and demonstration to UDIA Committee members on updates made in late 2019 to their online mapping platforms SLIP, Land Enquiry Services and enhanced Mapviewer which are available here.

Should any UDIA members be interested in hearing more or have any queries on these items, please contact Emiria Nyakudarika from Landgate on Emiria.nyakudarika@landgate.wa.gov.au

Special Committee Meeting: CLE Town Planning + Design Urban Growth Monitor Presentation

This morning a special joint committee meeting was held with members of the Land Use Planning, Infrastructure and Housing Diversity committees.

At the meeting CLE Town Planning + Design provided a presentation on their analysis of the Urban Growth Monitor and the Department of Planning, Land & Heritage’s land supply assumptions.

This has been identified as a key action by UDIA’s 2020 Policy Priorities document (here) and is considered to be an important first step in enabling proponent led options in the Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million framework.

UDIA will continue to keep members updated as this project progresses.

City of Nedlands – Design Review Panel – Expressions of Interest

The City of Nedlands is currently seeking expressions from suitably qualified design professionals to join the City’s new Design Review Panel.

Acting in an advisory capacity, the Panel will play a vital part in improving the design quality and functionality of new development within the City of Nedlands and provide the City with a range of expert advice on architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, sustainability and other design aspects of proposals.

The Panel will draw from a pool of up to six built form and design professionals. Suitably qualified professionals with demonstrated expertise in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, planning, sustainability or other related specialist built form design professions are invited to nominate for membership.

Nominations close 27 March 2020. Further information, including instructions on how to make a nomination, can be found here.

Retail Trade up but for how long?

January saw WA’s retail turnover increase 2.2% Year on Year to sit at $2.867 billion, which represents 10.5% of total national retail turnover for the month ($27.3 billion).

While the increase in January is a positive step for the WA economy, the impact of coronavirus is likely to impact on this growth in the next few months. UDIA WA will continue to monitor this situation and will be eager to see how much of an impact recent economic stimulus measures from the Federal Government and the Reserve Bank of Australia will have on this metric.

Lending Indicators down

The total number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments (excluding refinancing) decreased 10.3% to sit at 2,703 in January.

The total value of housing finance commitments made (excluding refinancing) also fell 11.3% MoM to sit at $1.044 billion, but remained 10.9% higher than at the same time the year prior.

Second round of Access Asia grants open for business

Earlier this week Asian Engagement Minister Peter Tinley opened round two of the Access Asia Business Grants Program to support small to medium enterprises in Western Australia grow trade with key Asian markets.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to help organisations build capacity to do business with Asia, including to undertake market visits, attend trade expos, develop culturally appropriate marketing materials and build Asian literacy and capability.

Funding is available to small to medium sized businesses, industry associations and Asian business councils to support their business efforts in Asia, including key markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

Businesses must be working in one of the six priority sectors identified in Diversify WA, the McGowan Government’s economic development framework.

Those sectors are Energy; Tourism, Events and Creative Industries; International Education; Mining and Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS); Technology and Advanced Manufacturing; and Primary Industries.

Engaging with a greater number of Asian markets was one of the key messages from Jonathan Pain at last month’s Industry Lunch where Mr Pain highlighted Australia’s over reliance on China. To see more about Mr Pain’s insights, click here.

Applications for round 2 of Access Asia Business Grants close on April 24, 2020. For more information visit here.

We value your feedback!

UDIA is currently working on several submissions on behalf of members. We encourage you to forward any feedback on these items to policy@udiawa.com.au

  • Consultation Regulation Impact Statement: Process for the development of Performance Solutions (here). Submissions close 22 March 2020.
  • Building Code 2016 Discussion Paper (here). Submissions close 3 April 2020.
  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close 15 May 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy