From the CEO

The passage of the Housing Australia Future Fund in Parliament today is a milestone worth celebrating, regardless of what many consider lofty and somewhat unrealistic ambitions of delivering 1.2 million homes.

It’s worth celebrating not only for the physical roof over many more heads throughout the country in the coming years, but more importantly for the policy & regulatory reform that it will force all levels of government to implement in order to make the bold commitment a reality.

Construction sector capacity is a real concern, highlighted by many industry leaders this week as a barrier to delivery along with planning policy and infrastructure constraints. The fact that there is finally a national conversation around addressing the friction points along the journey of delivering crucial housing supply is both a huge win for those advocating on the issue for many years and the thousands without access to a home.

After having considered our purpose as an organisation at UDIA WA over recent months, ultimately we agreed that at the core we are all about creating great places and housing choice so that millions of Australians experience better lives. So it was refreshing to read Robert Harley’s piece in the Financial Review today, in which he said, “Building 1.2 million new homes is about the hardware. The real ambition should be about creating better lives for 3 million Australians.”

Here here Robert. Both a game-changing opportunity and a significant challenge that will require the brightest minds across every sector to think about the end game and unpicking the status quo.

Next week, we will be calling for the brightest minds from within our membership to nominate for one of our committees that have been realigned with a greater focus on the outcomes we are delivering for our communities. I encourage those of you with the energy, passion and commitment for true reform to step forward.

Finally, this Saturday evening we will come together as an industry to recognise and celebrate some of the game-changing projects and people that are delivering better outcomes for the people of WA. At a time when it can be easy to get lost in the overwhelm of ambition, it’s important that we stop to recognise how far we have come together.

I look forward to raising our glasses to our achievements and collective ambition of the future.

HAFF Passes final hurdles

The highly anticipated Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) finally passed through both houses of Federal Parliament today.

In order to gain support from the Greens, which was a requirement to pass the legislation, the Albanese government entered into an agreement for an additional $1billion to be invested in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to support new homes.

This is over and above the $2 billion social housing funding to States and Territories and $3.5 billion in bonuses and funding for States and Territories to work towards their housing target to achieve the HAFF’s 1.2 billion housing target in five years.

The agreement will also lock in a $500m floor in annual funding rather than a “ceiling” and an early review date of 2026 instead of 2029. This is important as it means the HAFF can be modified as it is operating to ensure there are no unexpected barriers.

The HAFF Legislation is the enabling legislation for NHFIC and the Minister for Housing to start the fund and determine powers of allocation. There is still further work to be done to determine the project types and processes involved in distributing the funds as capital to pay for operating expenses once the projects are up and running.

It is important to note that this also means the projects will need to identify their own construction capital. UDIA National has been working with Treasury and NHFIC since the first drafting of the HAFF to identify the best possible investment for the funds.

For more information, read UDIA National’s advocacy alert here.

Ministerial Engagement on Medium Density

Last Friday, UDIA WA participated in a roundtable hosted by Minister Carey to discuss the deferral of the Medium Density Code and the pathway moving forward.

A consultant will be appointed by WAPC/DPLH to undertake a review and provide a report to the Minister by the end of the year on the options available to amend the Code.

UDIA WA will continue to engage with the Minister and DPLH/WAPC on the matter throughout this process.

UDIA WA is also continuing to work with UDIA National on the ongoing EPBC reforms. This includes testing project examples against the proposed standards and engagement with senior representatives of Minister Plibersek’s office and DCCEEW in an effort to ensure proposals are fit-for-purpose.

Draft Aboriginal Heritage Regulations released

Draft regulations were released yesterday for stakeholder consultation on the Aboriginal Heritage Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2023.

As a represented organisation on the Implementation Group, UDIA WA has previously shared views on the early thinking around the draft regulations and policies, and will be reviewing the released documents.

The Bill will repeal the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 and support a return to an improved Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. The legislation was introduced into Parliament last month and debate is expected to commence next week.

The Bill proposes several amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, including equal rights of review, requirements to report new information about an Aboriginal site where Section 18 Consent exists and call-in powers.

To support the amended laws, regulations and policy guidance have been developed and will contribute to a new framework to protect and manage Aboriginal heritage in Western Australia.

The draft regulations set timeframes for decisions under Section 18 of the 1972 Act, and outline administrative and management procedures of the proposed Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Committee.

A new consultation policy and application guidelines have also been drafted to support proponents applying for a Section 18 Consent where works are likely to impact Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Additional technical amendments will be introduced in Parliament next week that give effect to feedback received since drafting of the Bill. This includes clarifying the definition of ‘native title party’, amendments to allow suspension of a part of a (rather than entire) Section 18 Consent following a ministerial decision resulting from the disclosure of new information, and the provision for the transfer of a Section 18 Consent where there is a change in ownership of the land.  UDIA WA previously expressed concerns relating to the uncertainty and potential implications associated with provisions around the disclosure of new information and the importance of transferability of Section 18 Consent, and we acknowledge and thank Government for listening to such early industry feedback.

Feedback from the current consultation will help inform the final revised Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 1974 for Gazettal once the Bill passes Parliament.

Opportunity to get involved: Life Cycle Assessment Study

Following the UDIA WA Industry Breakfast ‘Putting the ‘E’ in ESG into Practice’ on 25 July, UDIA WA is pleased to share the Executive Summary (here) and detailed report (here) for our Life Cycle Assessment project.

The reports provide the results of the LCAs for three case study land developments – 115 Hamilton Hill, Orion Industrial Park, and Bushmead.

Thank you to our project partners, Cedar Woods, DevelopmentWA, Hesperia and Cerclos.

As a next phase, UDIA WA proposes to work collaboratively with Cerclos, a number of members and stakeholders to develop a standardised approach to assessing and optimising Life Cycle carbon emissions.

The study will seek to establish a best practice, fast, standardised, documented process for assessing urban developments in WA and optimising them towards net zero. The scope will focus on developing developer specific templates relating to civils and DCP infrastructure, with a limited number of generic templates for expansion of scope into basic built form components (e.g. single dwellings, townhouses, walk-up apartments).

We are currently inviting expressions of interest from developer members to become project partners.

This is an exciting opportunity for all participants to gain considerable value from being a part of this innovative work and collaboration across industry and government to develop a standard approach to support climate action in urban development. Participating developers will also benefit from the opportunity to assess and optimise several projects through access to the templates and to the eTool software for 12 months.

Please email to express your interest in being part of this exciting opportunity.

Latest edition released: The Urbanist

At the end of last week UDIA WA released the latest edition of The Urbanist magazine which explores the housing continuum and what can be done to boost housing supply.

Themed around the ‘housing continuum’ this edition unpacks a range of opportunities, recommendations, and ideas about how stakeholders can work together to deliver much needed housing choice to the market.

From crisis accommodation through to home ownership, delivering supply across the housing continuum is critical to meeting the needs of a diverse and growing population.

This edition features:

  • Our cover story on HafenCity in Hamburg, Europe’s largest inner-city urban development project
  • An exclusive interview with the Hon. John Carey, MLA Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing and Homelessness
  • A spotlight on the upcoming City of Perth Mayoral election with the two primary candidates, Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas and Councillor Sandy Anghie giving their vision for the Perth CBD
  • Analysis of the current challenges in the apartment market with insights from Scott Cameron, Dave Wilson and David Cresp
  • Ideas and opportunities for building capacity in the Aboriginal Housing Sector
  • And much more including opinion pieces from the 2023 UDIA National Women in Leadership Winner Michele Adair as well as Shelter WA CEO Kath Snell looking at ways to combat the housing crisis

Read the latest edition here.

If you would like to feature your business within The Urbanist, click here to explore the available advertising opportunities or reach out to for more information.

Committee nominations open next week

Keep an eye out as nominations for the 2024-25 Committees will open next week.

Our committees have been realigned with a greater focus on the outcomes we are delivering for our communities, and to maximise member value.  If you have the energy, passion, and commitment to help drive true reform and make a difference, we look forward to receiving your nomination.

A Nomination Kit will be available for review, which details the objectives of the respective committees as well as nominee considerations and selection criteria.

An email will be sent to members next week with a link to the Nomination Kit and Form.

Opportunity to feature in The West Australian

There are just two weeks left to be involved in the upcoming edition of the Land Report, the special liftout in The West Australian that uses exclusive data from UDIA WA’s Urban Development Index, to provide readers with an insight into the current state of the land market in WA.

Each edition is presented to an audience of 500,000 Saturday readers, which is made up of landbuyers and homebuilders who will have access to a wealth of information provided by the UDIA and the West’s team of real estate journalists.

This will include:

  • The latest market data and analysis from UDIA WA.
  • Commentary from leading developers.
  • Region-by-region analysis.
  • New trends in infill and greenfield development.
  • Creating a connected and vibrant city.
  • Housing supply and affordability.

For you chance to include an advert in this year’s publication, reach out to Carla Wray (here) or Mahwish Ali (here) by Thursday 28 September to receive complimentary written editorial.

For more information, click here.

Are you experiencing challenges due to Basic Raw Materials scarcity in the South West Region?

UDIA WA is supporting in a Working Group and Reference Group, facilitated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, to help develop a strategy and response to the Basic Raw Materials (BRM) challenges in the South West region.

In the SW region, there is an emerging risk associated with availability of BRMs, as acknowledged in sub-regional strategies prepared by WAPC which highlight the need to “undertake a study of the supply and demand of basic raw materials within the sub-region and the opportunities for alternative building construction techniques to reduce demand from the building and construction industries”.

Access to BRM has the potential to be an economic growth inhibitor in the SW region, especially for fill sand.  The supply of all forms of BRM (fill sand, concrete sand, hard rock, gravel, limestone, and limestone) will face increasing pressure in coming years, compounded by a range of factors. This is impacted by distance and transport costs, demand levels, the quality of BRM, land-use conflicts, environmental values, social acceptance, and lag times to gain planning and regulatory approvals.

The impact of extracting BRM certainly needs to be responsibly managed to avoid impacts on water resources, native vegetation, etc. and future land use risk, and this must be balanced with the impacts on the economy.

To address the challenges, these groups believe the solution will need to be multifaceted:

  • a reliable assessment of current and future demands;
  • an improved appreciation of the true availability of BRM based on known constraints;
  • consideration of consistent, streamlined and timely approval processes;
  • adequate planning controls to protect known resource from sensitive land use conflicts;
  • consideration of alternative materials and current construction practises, to ensure BRM is used efficiently and only when required;
  • consideration of state priorities where there are competing interests, both in relation to gaining access to the resource and alternative land uses and then, which uses are deemed higher priority.

Unfortunately, however, there is currently no funding for such work.

To help inform a case for action, the SW BRM Strategy Reference Group is calling for specific examples/evidence of the current problem being faced because of reported scarcity of available sand supplies (e.g. time and cost implications being faced).

If you are aware of projects being impacted, please provide details of any examples to by COB Wednesday 27 September.

WA population and employment growing

The latest stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics further highlight the need for greater housing supply as WA’s population grew 2.8% in the 12 months to March 2023, the fastest growing state in the country.

While it is good news that WA’s population now sits just under 2.9 million people, the influx of new residents calling WA home will be adding to the current housing supply shortage we are facing.

As highlighted through the article in The West Australian this week (here) and in our article within The Urbanist (here) developers are finding it increasingly harder to get new apartment projects off the ground and with a potential shortfall of 20,000 new dwellings expected in the next few years (here) UDIA WA has put forward a range of recommendations to the government in relation to supporting and boosting housing supply.

In addition to the population data released today the ABS also revealed the latest employment figures that showed employment in WA reached a new record high of 1.57 million in August.

Employment grew by a further 0.9% (or 14,700 jobs) in August, led by growth in full‑time employment, which grew by 1.6% or 17,600 jobs.

WA’s participation rate jumped to 69.3% in August, up 0.7%, the strongest participation rate of the States. More people entering the labour market saw the unemployment rate lift slightly to 3.8%, remaining broadly in line with the national rate of 3.7%.

WA’s underemployment rate remained the lowest of the States at 5.9%, compared to 6.6% nationally.

Land Tax Seminar

There is less than a week left to book in for UDIA WA’s seminar that will provide members with a detailed understanding of the Land Tax assessment process.

Taxes on property were identified in the 2022/23 State budget as the State’s largest tax after payroll tax. Land tax and the Metropolitan Region Improvement Tax generated $886M in revenue for the State last financial year.

The purpose of this session is to better equip members in reviewing their Land Tax assessments, to ensure that the valuations applied, and the corresponding land tax assessments are fair and reasonable.

This detailed seminar will hear insights and expertise from Stewart Nuttall, Senior Director at CBRE and Martin Flint, Director at Flint Legal on the following topics:

  • What is Unimproved Value and how it is applied
  • How valuations inform land tax assessments
  • Factors influencing valuation, the principles applied and what to look out for
  • Steps to take when you receive your next land tax assessment.
  • The statutory valuation and land tax review process

In a climate of increasing costs and housing affordability impacts, UDIA WA is working to assist developers to improve their understanding of their land tax liability, how it is assessed and what they need to consider when reviewing the valuation principles that have been applied to their land.

The event takes place on Thursday 21 September at Engineers Australia.

To book your spot, register here.

National Congress Early Bird tickets

This week Early Bird tickets for the 2024 UDIA National Congress in Melbourne officially went on sale.

The annual UDIA National Congress provides a platform for members to hear from high-profile speakers focusing on the urban development industry in Australia, international case studies and what’s next for the industry in terms of innovation and market demand.

For more information and to register for the event, click here. Early bird tickets are available until 1 December.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available, reach out to UDIA National Congress Manager Nichola Byrne here for more details.

Invest Cockburn survey

The City of Cockburn is working with Pracsys Economics to progress the ‘Invest Cockburn’ project with the purpose of advancing business prosperity and employment opportunities in the region and ultimately developing an investment strategy.

The Cockburn economy has one of the highest gross regional products in Metropolitan Perth. This project will help us communicate our unique local advantages to support sustainable investment growth and resilience in the local economy.

They are in Stage One which focuses on research, analysis and industry engagement. The industry engagement is focussed on talking to business owners and operators in the City and those who may be attracted to the City.

The following survey will provide the City with an understanding of the decision making processes for businesses from across the Perth Metropolitan area and key factors that may facilitate investment attraction.

Your responses will be kept confidential with the data only being made available to UDIA; the Stage 1 report will remain internal and aggregated findings will be used to inform investment attraction content.

You can complete the survey here and it will be kept open until 14 September.