UDIA Submission: Native Vegetation in Western Australia Issues Paper

At the start of the week UDIA WA delivered a submission on the Native Vegetation in Western Australia Issues Paper, highlighting our overall support.

Specifically, UDIA supports the incluson of an increase in investment in better mapping and monitoring information and the adoption of a bioregional approach and ensuring that rules and thresholds appropriate to each bioregion are adopted.

UDIA also supports the intent to introduce flexibility in terms of how objectives are met and showcased how preliminary work undertaken by UDIA’s Environment Committee has shown that the assessment of impacts on vegetation using an arbitrary percentage impact on vegetation complexes might not be the best way to undertake assessments.

As an example the submission looks to the Swan Coastal Plain which has many vegetation complexes with large amounts of vegetation remaining that would not be significantly impacted by localised clearing when assessed at a regional level. As such the submission showcases support for the assessment of vegetation at a regional level using some flexibility based on actual impact.

To view the submission in full, click here.

Policy Priorities the key focus for State Council

The first State Council meeting for 2020 was held yesterday, with the key focus on finalising UDIA WA’s policy priorities for the year.

Centred around three key themes of the economy, environment and liveability – Council has developed a clear strategy around what will make the biggest impact for our industry in the year leading up to the State Election to be held in March 2021.

Stay tuned for the release of the policy document in the first week of March.

Market overview at SCA event

Last Friday UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green provided a presentation to the Strata Communities Association looking at WA Strata Development trends for 2020.

Within the presentation Chris focussed on three areas: housing demand, housing market stock and supply before providing an overview of trends regarding apartments and some other predictions for 2020.

On the whole Chris suggested that 2020 will be similar in terms of housing and economic activity as 2019 but highlighted a potential improvement in the second half of the year.

WAPC to become more transparent

Earlier this week the Western Australian Planning Commission followed through with a pledge to begin publishing all meeting agendas and minutes online, as part of early actions outlined in the Action Plan for Planning Reform to increase transparency.

In addition to publishing the meeting agendas and minutes, the WAPC will publish complete officer reports for a greater range of statutory planning proposals; will introduce and publish a Key Matters Coversheet (KMC) to provide greater information on some confidential statutory planning proposals and notify local governments and applicants via email seven days in advance of a meeting, upon publication of the agenda on the DPLH website.

The KMC is intended to assist interested parties to quickly understand the key determinative issues likely to be considered by the WAPC or SPC and enable interested parties to make informed and focussed deputations.

A trial of the new practices for SPC meetings was undertaken in late 2019 and the WAPC began implement the new practices for its meeting on 19 February 2020 when it published the agenda for the meeting on Wednesday.

A new online form has also been developed for parties wishing to make deputations or presentations to the WAPC or SPC.

For more information or to view the agenda for the meeting on 19 February, click here.

Latest Urban Intelligence released

The latest edition of UDIA’s monthly Urban Intelligence report was released on Tuesday and revealed some encouraging results for the Western Australian economy but the property and construction industries are still feeling the pinch of a prolonged downturn.

This edition also looked back on 2019 and how uncertainty around various global and national events had an impact on the property market and economy here. It showcased that while some industries, such as mining, continued to prosper, despite the uncertain times, other industries such as construction struggled.

Looking ahead to 2020 and the only certain thing about the next 12 months is how uncertain the future will be. With the Coronavirus outbreak, Brexit, the US election and the ongoing USA-China trade agreement all still to be resolved, the next 12 months are far from a fixed outcome and UDIA will continue to monitor the impacts of these events on the market here.

To read the full Urban Intelligence, click here.

Housing finance commitments down but value up

The latest ABS stats showcased the number of WA first home buyer (FHB) housing finance commitments fell in the December quarter.

The 3,580 recorded in the three months to December was 0.3% down compared with the previous quarter and 2.4% down on the corresponding quarter in 2018. The WA results formed just 12.0% of the national total that sat at 29,834, 8.5% up Quarter on Quarter and 8.9% up Year on Year.

This national figure of 29,834 was the highest recorded for any quarter for ten years (since Dec 09 (38,115)).

The value of FHB housing finance commitments lifted 2.1% QoQ and 4.5% YoY to sit at $1.235 billion, making up 10.1% of the national total ($12,272 (+12.6% QoQ; +22.9% YoY)).

Calling all waste champions – Infinity Awards 2020

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Infinity Awards and will close at 5pm on Tuesday 10 March 2020. The awards celebrate Western Australia’s waste champions and recognise innovative solutions to reduce waste and improve reuse and recycling.

There are 10 categories which are open to individuals, business and industry, government, schools, community organisations, not-for-profits and media outlets.

Full details, including criteria and entry forms, can be found here.

State Government to take action on short-stay accommodation

Following the recent parliamentary inquiry into short-stay accommodation, the State Government is adopting nearly all of the recommendations.

Led by Jessica Shaw MLA, the inquiry presented 10 recommendations to improve outdated and inconsistent policy governing short-term rentals, and create greater certainty for the tourism industry, accommodation providers and guests.

The inquiry found that while short-term rentals are a genuine income source for some people and are popular with guests, there was no regulation of the industry resulting in adverse impacts on neighbours and local communities.

A key recommendation is the adoption of a flexible, low cost and simple registration scheme for all short-term accommodation providers across the State.

An interagency working group has now been established and the State Government will work with local governments and accommodation providers to ensure that all short-term rental properties are registered and display a valid registration number.

State Government rolls out first community battery in Perth

At the start of the week Energy Minister Bill Johnston launched Perth’s first community PowerBank battery storage system in Ellenbrook.

Ellenbrook residents can apply to take part in the PowerBank 2 trial, which will enable them to ‘virtually’ store excess energy generated from their solar panels in a 464kWh Tesla battery to use in the afternoon and evening peak time.

Customers will be allocated 6kWH or 8kWh of virtual storage costing $1.60 or $1.90 a day.

The Ellenbrook trial follows on from the successful trial in Meadow Springs in 2018, where customers collectively saved around $11,000 off their power bills.

PowerBank is the first time in Australia that a utility-scale battery has been integrated into an established major metropolitan network, providing an alternative storage option for residents.

UDIA National updates

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) National says the abolition of stamp duty should serve as a cornerstone of any tax reform agenda.

This was the key message in a media statement released by our national body earlier today.

Within the statement UDIA National Executive Director Connie Kirk said Stamp Duty was one of the most inefficient taxes in our economy and acted as a substantial barrier to home ownership.

“State governments have become overly dependent on stamp duties to sustain their budgets, despite it being a volatile tax that ebbs and flows with housing cycles.

“We appreciate any substantial tax reform is a long-haul exercise, but it is time for governments to start planning for a switch from stamp duties to more broad-based measures such as land tax.

“An overhaul of property taxes is well overdue given the excessive burden carried by the industry and homebuyers.

“Governments can also seize the opportunity to reform other inefficient and inequitable taxes such as the plethora of infrastructure charges that get built into the cost of a new home.”

This was the second of two media statements released by the UDIA National body this week with the other focusing on the fact that a jump in the value of new loan commitments needs to be matched with supply increases.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday found there was a 4.4% increase in the value of new loan commitments for housing in December last year.

Notably, the number of loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers recorded a 6.2 percent increase.

“We are starting to see evidence of a sustained increase in new loan commitments – which is a positive sign for homebuyers seeking access to credit,” Ms Kirk said.

“The challenge now is to ensure we have a balanced housing market in which the approvals and construction pipeline meets the build-up in buyer demand.

“There are hints of a lift in housing approvals data but construction pipelines are currently thin and the risk is we see a mismatch between supply and demand re-emerge.

“We also need to see the Commonwealth and states work in partnership to accelerate land release – both via smart land use off the back of infrastructure investment and fixing inefficient planning systems.”

First Industry Luncheon tomorrow

UDIA is all systems go ahead of our first Industry Luncheon for 2020.  Over 400 guests are registered to attend and hear from economic expert Jonathan Pain who will outline his thoughts and predictions on the global economy and political context and how that will impact on WA.

Mr Pain presented at our first Industry Lunch of 2019 and accurately predicted the fall of the Official Cash Rate to less than 1% and is set to once again provide his insights into how global events will impact the Western Australian economy.

With Coronavirus having a growing impact, the unpredictability of the US-China Trade agreement and the US election, as well as the aftermath of Brexit, there are a number of different factors that will have a growing impact on Western Australia so we will be all ears to hear Mr Pain’s predictions once again.

Following the presentation by Mr Pain, Danny Chung, the National Head of the Built Environment Segment for Macquarie Business Banking will present on the findings of Macquarie Banks inaugural Benchmarking to the built environment.

This research offers valuable insights into industry trends across Australia and here in Perth.

Danny and Jonathan will then form the panel ensuring attendees have the ideal chance to have their most pressing questions answered.

UDIA looks forward to being joined by so many of our members tomorrow.

Our thanks go to event sponsors Western Power, Cottee Parker, Property Education Foundation, Macquarie Bank and JDSI.

Effective downsizing options for older Australians

Earlier this week AHURI released a new report that explores the benefits of downsizing and the availability of housing options among older Australians.

The research found that downsizing is an integral part of the current and future housing preferences of Australians aged over 55.

Of the 2,422 respondents, 26 per cent had already downsized, and 29 per cent had considered downsizing. Downsizing is not perceived only as a reduction in dwelling size, but also as a transition to a more manageable space, a reduction in belongings, and as a financial benefit to the household.

To read the report in full, click 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

  • Community Titles Discussion Paper (here). Submissions close February 28, 2020.

 Responding to climate change

In light of various organisations and associations declaring climate emergencies, Hansen Partnership has released a media statement responding to climate change.

Within the statement Hansen Partnership acknowledges that the world is now different compared with a decade ago and the impetus and importance of delivering better outcomes has dramatically escalated in the face of a growing climate crisis.

The statement ends by detailing the ways Hansen has responded to the climate emergencies that have been declared and puts forward an agenda of things to share over the coming months.

For more information and the read the media statement in full, click here.