Infrastructure Investment the Answer To Our Economic Future: Jonathan Pain

In the midst of the most unprecedented downturn in our economic history and with the flood of stimulus measures and booster payments being announced to alleviate the worst impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. However, world renowned economist Jonathan Pain is urging governments not to lose sight of life after the pandemic as they grapple with the more immediate pressures that are facing them.

Mr Pain correctly predicted the economic downturn we would face two months ago when he spoke at a UDIA WA lunch on the topic of our economy in a global context.  A prediction that many of us may have thought pessimistic at the time.

UDIA WA spoke to Mr Pain more recently, in the midst of heightened restrictions and closed borders, to discuss what he thinks can be done to mitigate the significant economic impacts of the pandemic in the longer term.

To read the piece in full, click here.

Awards submissions now open

UDIA WA is pleased to announce the Awards for Excellence 2020 program is officially open to submissions. The prestigious annual awards program recognises the very best in urban development in Western Australia and the winners and finalists receive fantastic exposure for their project and hard-working teams.

This year there are 10 categories to enter into accompanied by three discretionary awards including two Judges Awards and the sought-after Russel Perry Award for Urban Development Excellence.

At the 2019 Awards for Excellence Stirling Capital took out the top gong for its Cirque Mount Pleasant project. For your opportunity to follow in Stirling Capital’s footsteps, click here for more information and to download the nomination kit including all category and entry information.

Women in Leadership & Young Development Professional awards open for nominations

The submissions process is now open for the UDIA WA Women in Leadership award and the UDIA WA & Stockland Young Professional Development Award. Both awards are an opportunity for individuals to be recognised by their peers for their contribution to the industry, leadership and mentorship capacity.

Department of Communities’ Tiffany Allen was awarded with the Women in Leadership award in 2019. For a chance to emulate her success, click here.

Eco Logical Australia’s Daniel Panickar was named as the 2019 Young Professional Development award winner. For more information about nominating for the YDP award this year, click here.

Latest UI released

Earlier this week, the latest edition of the Urban Intelligence, UDIA WA’s monthly round up of the key statistics impacting the development industry was released.

This month’s edition includes a feature article from UDIA WA Director Policy and Research Chris Green detailing the range of the initiatives and advocacy work being undertaken by UDIA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is also an insight into the performance of the Metropolitan North East corridor markets as well as an overview of the key property indicators. Please note that many of the figures relate to pre-COVID-19 measures. The April edition will provide more conclusive statistics following the impacts of COVID-19.

To read the latest edition, click here.

UDIA launches new webinar

On Tuesday, UDIA WA launched details for our first in a series of online webinars.  Michael Veletta, Senior Director of Valuation and Advisory Services at CBRE, will explore the current valuations landscape and provide insight into the challenges for new detached dwellings and apartments in WA.

During the hour-long session Michael will brief participants on the key challenges associated with valuing a new property as well as what can be done to ensure off-the-plan prices match final valuations.

This not to be missed valuations masterclass will ensure you are armed with all the critical information you need to make informed business decisions in the months ahead.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.

Local planning approvals exemptions announced

On Saturday, UDIA WA welcomed the Minister for Planning Rita Saffioti’s announcement of a range of exemptions to local planning requirements under the government’s new State of Emergency powers.

UDIA commended the Minister on her swift action on these complex matters and looks forward to the Government continuing to take steps to ensure our industry is supported in terms of our capacity to maintain jobs and assist with economic recovery.

UDIA particularly welcomed the Notice of Exemption providing a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals to ‘assist job-creating projects during the recovery stage’ and measures to facilitate local businesses and economic development.

The Notice of Exemption also identifies other matters which no longer require planning approval across several essential local community services, including:

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times;
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use;
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones;
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties;
  • businesses needing to change signs; and
  • temporary workers accommodation.

Planning proposals now only need to be advertised on local government websites.

The exemptions are for temporary situations only.

UDIA WA will continue to work with the State Government on further measures to support our industry through these challenging times including tax breaks and incentives.

CEO Tanya Steinbeck met with the Minister for Planning last week to discuss relevant planning reform measures including consideration of projects that are already in the approvals system and how those could potentially be fast tracked.

The urgent need to enforce statutory timeframes on responses from referral agencies and prompt decision making to ensure timely approvals and minimise unnecessary delays has also been highlighted.

New laws to provide support for commercial and residential tenants and landlords

Urgent legislation to implement a range of measures to minimise financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tenants and landlords of both commercial and residential tenancies will be introduced into State Parliament this week.

The Commercial Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce a moratorium on evictions for small commercial tenancies and provide a range of other measures to offer support for tenants in response to COVID-19, including the introduction of a code of conduct for landlords and tenants.

In addition to providing legislation for commercial tenancies, the State Government has prepared further measures necessary to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on residential tenants and landlords.

The Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 will introduce:

  • a moratorium on eviction for six months except in limited circumstances;
  • a prohibition on rent increases during the emergency period;
  • that any fixed term tenancy agreement due to expire during the emergency period will continue as a periodic agreement;
  • relieving lessors of the obligation to conduct ordinary repairs if the reason they cannot do so is COVID-19 related financial hardship or a lawful restriction on movement; and
  • enabling a tenant to end a fixed term tenancy prior to its end date without incurring break lease fees (tenants will still be liable for damage and rent arrears).

The laws will apply equally to tenants in public and private housing, park homes as well as boarders and lodgers.

Updated information relating to these changes is available on the Consumer Protection website here.

Home building starts up in December Quarter

The latest figures from the ABS have shown that there was a small increase in the number of new homes that commenced construction in the December 2019 Quarter.

The 1.2% QoQ increase resulted in 174,246 new homes commencing construction, which while positive compared with the previous quarter, was 22.6% down on the same period the year prior.

We are likely to see a further drop in this figure in the first quarter of 2020 given the impacts of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures introduced as a result.

IMF forecasts the global economy to fall by 3.0 per cent in 2020

This week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released Chapter 1 of its World Economic Outlook for April 2020 within which it forecasts the potential hit to the global economy as a result of COVID-19.

Within the report it predicts a 3% contraction in the global economy during 2020, which is considerably higher than the 0.1% fall in 2009 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis.

Despite the forecasted falls this year, if the pandemic fades throughout the rest of the year and containment efforts are gradually unwound, the IMF projects potential growth of 5.8% in 2021, however there is extreme uncertainty around any global growth forecast because of the unknown impacts from the pandemic.

At a more local level, the IMF predicts a 6.7% contraction in real GDP for Australia during 2020, more than double the global contraction rate. On the flip side, it projects a potential growth of 6.1% which would almost wipe out any contractions faced this year but still leave Australia in a tricky economic position.

The Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg jumped on this projected increase highlighting this potential growth in 2021 would be larger than the economies of the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Mr Frydenberg also pointed to the re-affirmation of Australia’s AAA credit rating by Standard and Poor, which noted that “while fiscal stimulus measures will soften the blow presented by the COVID-19 outbreak and weigh heavily on public finances in the immediate future, they won’t structurally weaken Australia’s fiscal position.”

Mr Frydenberg is confident the measures implemented by the Federal Government to date will ensure Australia bounces back stronger on the other side of the pandemic without undermining the structural integrity of the budget.

City of Kalamunda releases draft Local Housing Strategy

The City of Kalamunda is seeking feedback on its draft Local Housing Strategy to ensure it can still meet the growing needs of its community.

The Strategy looks to increase the quality and diversity in housing types, support more sustainable features, promote active transport and provide safe active streets for residents.

Reviewed every five years, the Strategy is also an opportunity to identify opportunities for improvement in the current local planning framework.

The City is conducting an Online Information Session on Friday 1 May from 10:30am-11:30am. Comments on the draft Strategy close on Friday 29 May.

For more information, click here.

Local Government Act changes to support COVID-19 response

This week the State Government introduced legislation to support local governments as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The impacts of the current State of Emergency continue to be felt across all levels of government, businesses and communities.

The Local Government Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 amends the Local Government Act 1995 (the Act) in two key areas:

  • modifications or suspension of legislative provisions; and
  • local government local laws.

To assist local governments as they respond to the coronavirus outbreak, the changes will allow parts of the Act to be modified or suspended during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

This will ensure that action can be taken in the event of it being identified that a local government’s ability to respond to the emergency is being impeded, or the health of the community is potentially being put at risk.

The amendments will also enable a local government to temporarily suspend all or some of a local law by council decision.

Under this change, local governments would have the power to remove restrictions and reduce red tape in order to support businesses and households during the current pandemic and consequent recovery.

JobKeeper payments exempt from payroll tax

Following the introduction of the JobKeeper payment scheme the State Government has moved to introduce urgent legislation to Parliament this week to exempt Western Australian businesses from paying payroll tax on the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Under the JobKeeper Payment scheme eligible employers are provided with payments of $1,500 per fortnight for up to six months for each current and recently stood-down employee, which under existing laws would have attracted payroll tax.

The new legislation will ensure WA businesses are exempt from any payroll tax on the wage subsidy to provide further relief and support to WA businesses coping with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

For more information, visit here.

2019 a positive year for the clean energy sector

A new report from the Clean Energy Council showcased that 2019 was a successful year for renewables following an uptick in the transition to clean energy from governments, industry and communities.

2019 saw the completion of 34 large-scale projects, which increased Australia’s large-scale renewable energy capacity by 2.2 GW and generating $4.3 billion in investment and more than 4000 new jobs.

In addition to this the report found renewable energy was responsible for 24 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2019, an increase of 2.7 percentage points on 2018.

There were good gains for the wind and solar sectors with 8 new wind farms added and several records broken in the large, medium and rooftop solar sectors.

Despite the positivity, the report highlights that the lack of a federal energy policy and transmission and connection challenges resulted in new investment commitments falling by more than 50 per cent in 2019, from $10.7 billion in 2018 to just $4.5 billion in 2019.

Although investment was down, the report highlights that the biggest achievement in 2019 was the fulfillment of the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (RET) more than a year ahead of the 2020 deadline. Australia reached the RET in September 2019 following the completion of the 148 MW Cattle Hill Wind Farm.

For more information or 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

  • Public Comment on Infill Typologies
    • CRCWSC Infill Typologies Catalogue for informing better infill design is now available for public comment (here).
  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close 15 July 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy

Expanding Reuse Opportunities for Recycled C&D Materials – Industry Survey

UDIA WA is supporting an industry research and engagement project being undertaken by ActiveSustainability in collaboration with Foundations Research and Murdoch University on expanding reuse opportunities for recycled C&D materials.

The project is made possible through Waste Authority funding which supports projects that contribute to the waste strategy’s objectives and targets.

Currently the reuse of waste-derived products provides cost effective and environmental solutions for some WA developers, builders and contractors, however there remains excess supply of these materials that are suitable for use in many additional WA projects.

This project is focused on understanding and addressing industry concerns and impediments for the reuse of recycled construction materials in development projects.

As part of the engagement process, ActiveSustainability is requesting industry feedback to inform its research.

The information gathered through these surveys will provide valuable information and help identify opportunities for further development of C&D waste markets, all of which will be incorporated in the final project report and made available to all stakeholders.


All individual responses will be aggregated. Anonymity and full confidentiality of individual responses will be maintained.

To complete the survey, click here.

Need Fill? Surplus sand available

In the process of constructing the Roe Highway/Kalamunda Road grade separation project, Georgiou have obtained a large amount of surplus fill material, which would be ideal for consultants, planners, developers and other stakeholders that may have a use for this material for their projects.

The fill material can be obtained by getting in touch with Georgiou direct who can provide more information about the specific details. Depending on yours and the project’s requirements (timing, quality and the amount required), the fill may be free of charge or a fee may apply.

For further information or to make an enquiry about the fill material, contact Jason Fletcher on

Site Security Update

PACT investigators went on a different type of Easter Egg hunt this year as they went in search of stolen goods thanks to GPS tracking.

As result of their investigative efforts the GPS tracking of a stolen oven from a Home Group Site in Paradiso Estate, Baldivis resulted in the arrest of two people in Armadale and recovery of property.

For more information about this full story and March crime statistics, click here.