From the CEO

Our industry and the regulatory framework it operates within is incredibly complex. This complexity is only growing as we face increasing economic, social and environmental challenges each year. Our ask though in terms of reform is relatively simple yet somehow very difficult to achieve. It’s summarised in two words.

Clarity and certainty.

I’m going to use two key examples that I am having lengthy discussions about on a daily basis right now with members & our government stakeholders. One will no doubt induce an eye roll, the other may raise an eyebrow.

The first is environmental approvals (cue eye roll). No, this isn’t a broken record. This is a whole new level of ambiguity, uncertainty, time and cost implications at a time when affordable housing supply or lack thereof is one of the biggest issues facing our country.

Cost recovery is the new black in the public sector so watch this space as the Federal Government follows the State Government’s lead in establishing a Federal EPA. Add to that a Nature Repair Market and new set of National Environmental Standards. Administering these new and improved federal regulations won’t be cheap for proponents. If there is a corresponding benefit to industry in terms of clarity, certainty and speed then the bitter pill is easier to swallow. Unfortunately we are still choking on the pill we swallowed when the WA EPA went down this path as we continue our search for clarity and certainty at a State level. This is one of the top issues on UDIA’s agenda.

The second is the imminent implementation of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021. As UDIA progresses it’s journey through formulating it’s REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan – there is no doubt that the cultural heritage of our traditional owners must be acknowledged, respected and adequately protected.

What you may not realise is that in just a few months, the process around ensuring Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is protected will fundamentally change for our industry (cue raised eyebrows). Any land throughout Western Australia over 1,100sqm will now be subject to the requirements of the new Act and a new tiered assessment process. I won’t leave you guessing about which Tier we fall under. It’s Tier 3 by a large majority.

UDIA has gathered the experts to walk you through what this means – clarity at the very least and hopefully some degree of certainty about the impact this will have on your projects on April 27 so make sure you join us.

As Richard Branson says. “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.” Touche Richard.

UDIA National Congress – Registrations close tomorrow

There is just one day left to book for the 2023 UDIA National Congress set to take place right here in Perth with registrations set to close tomorrow!

National Congress is the ultimate learning and networking opportunity with world-class speakers and high-profile delegates from across the country coming together at the end of this month.

Headline speakers include Mark Bouris AM, Nicole Lockwood (InfrastructureWA), Amy Auster (PwC), Adrian Harrington (NHFIC), Eliza Owen (CoreLogic), Peter Calthorpe, USA, Andrew Miller (HATCH Canada), Prof Sam Tsemberis (Pathways to Housing, USA) and so many more including Congress MC Robert Harley.

The event kicks off with an Opening Night celebration on the rooftop of the Art Gallery of WA, followed by two full days of plenary sessions, study tours and unrivalled networking opportunities before being closed out by the 2023 UDIA National Awards for Excellence Gala Event.

The Gala event provides the ideal chance to celebrate the very best in urban development across Australia with winners from each State vying to be named best of the best.

This year Peter Rowsthorn has been confirmed as the Gala Event MC ensuring the night and Congress will finish in light and entertaining fashion.

To find out more and to make sure you’re there with us register here.

UDIA WA’s government engagement

Over the past couple of weeks, UDIA WA’s CEO and Executive Director has held quarterly meetings with the WAPC Chair, Director General and senior representatives of DPLH; and the A/CEO and Executive General Manager Business Development and Marketing of DevelopmentWA.

Meetings have also been held with Minister Ellery and the Premier’s Policy Director and Principal Policy Advisor to the WA Treasurer.

A key focus of these discussions was UDIA’s State Budget Submission, particularly our priorities relating to the skills and labour shortage, supporting built form development and ensuring the provision of supply across the housing continuum.  We also discussed the initial insights and ongoing work around UDIA’s Development Ready Pipeline project, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and what it means for industry, and the challenges for industry in relation to environmental approvals and potential improvements.

HAFF must be nimble to combat chronic housing shortages

Today, in its evidence at the Senate Economics Legislation Committee public hearing: Inquiry into the Housing Australia Future Fund package of bills 2023, UDIA National reinforced its support for the Housing Affordability Future Fund (HAFF) and emphasised the need for a flexible, market nimble, investment framework with all housing providers working together to combat the chronic shortage of Affordable Housing in Australia over the next 10-25 years.

“The HAFF is a housing initiative for the future and its investment framework needs to be flexible, and have a long-term focus, to tackle the some 45,000 affordable and social dwellings the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) estimates we need each year across Australia,” said Max Shifman, UDIA National President.

The Federal Government’s HAFF and Housing Accord targets the delivery of 50,000 affordable and social dwellings. Any long-term strategy to combat housing shortages will need the Government and Community Housing Providers (CHPS) to more than double their annual delivery of affordable housing.

10,000 additional affordable and social houses are required each year over the next five years, in addition to the 8,500 houses we currently build, just to keep up with existing demand. This is before any progress is made to address the deep historical shortages (numbering in the hundreds of thousands of homes).

The lack of housing supply must be tackled simultaneously with the HAFF, or escalating costs and lack of supply will eviscerate any gains made.

“Once the HAFF bill is passed, formulating the investment framework should state the outcomes government seeks, but also maintain flexibility on how those objectives are achieved to avoid inadvertently preventing viable delivery options in the future,” said Mr Shifman.

Complicating the challenge for the HAFF is the continued decline in new housing supply, caused by a combination of a lack of development ready land, clogged planning systems and cost inflation.

“We must address the lack of enabling infrastructure, ever increasing cost imposts, and inefficient planning processes to free up the 60% of zoned housing that is held back due to relatively straightforward issues. Our industry is keen to keep working with our political leaders to bolster housing supply and affordability across the spectrum,” said Maxwell Shifman.

Share your views on Government policy around decarbonisation of residential and commercial buildings

The State Government is taking action to transition WA’s economy towards a low carbon, resilient and prosperous future.

DWER is leading the development of the Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategies (SERS) to guide cost-effective emissions reductions and set a pathway for the state’s transition to net zero emissions by 2050.

The SERS will address emissions from electricity, as well as industry including resources and manufacturing, transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, and land use. Informing the development of the SERS is consultation with each of these sectors.

UDIA WA and are members continue to be engaged in this process through our Climate Action and Build Form Standing Advisory Groups.

Our members, along with other stakeholders, are also invited to participate in the DWER consultation sessions that will discuss broad policy themes that apply to built form and urban development/precinct level.

These include:

  • net zero supply chains (products, materials, workforce knowledge and skills)
  • electrification
  • information and education
  • incentives for high performing buildings

Details of the session are as follows:

Residential buildings component of the SERS
Time:         1.30pm – 3.00pm (1.5 hours)
Date:         Monday, 3 April 2023
Place:        Online

Register:   Here

Commercial buildings component of the SERS
Time:        2.30pm – 4.00pm (1.5 hours)
Date:        Thursday, 23 March 2023
Place:       Online

Register: Here

These sessions are an opportunity to share your views on government decarbonisation policies, which could be targeted at government leadership, education and information, sustainability ratings and emission measurement tools, minimum standards, incentivising high performance, or facilitating sustainable finance.

For more information, read the background paper and frequently asked questions on how the State Government is shaping WA’s low-carbon future.

UDIA WA is hiring

UDIA WA is on the search for a new Policy Officer to join our dynamic team based in the heart of Subiaco.

This role is responsible for working with the Executive Director – Strategy and Policy to support policy work underpinning UDIA WA’s advocacy agenda to support our vision.

This spans across the strategic pillars of Economy, Liveability and Environment and encompasses industry-relevant issues relating to land use planning, built form, infrastructure, climate action, urban water, industry workforce, and regulation and tax.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Coordination of UDIA WA Committees and Standing Advisory Groups.
  • Undertaking policy development and assisting with drafting submissions and publications.
  • Coordination of the EnviroDevelopment program in WA, including engaging with perspective applicants and processing applications, for presentation to the EnviroDevelopment National Board for assessment.
  • Compilation and analysis of data and information relevant to the WA property and development industry.
  • Responding to policy-related member queries and supporting research activities.

In addition to working in one of Perth’s most vibrant precincts, you would get the opportunity to join a strong team and you can get to know our office dog Gracie very well.

For more information or to apply, click here.

First online biodiversity training for Western Power staff

A WA-first initiative to make biosecurity training a more accessible, efficient and effective process, Western Power has recently rolled out online training for its operational staff and external contractors to assist in protecting the State’s unique flora and fauna.

Operating in a vast network known as the South West Interconnected System, Western Power operates one of the world’s largest stand-alone grids and ensuring its footprint is as minimal as possible is one of the organisation’s key environmental priorities.

Green Card training was originally developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to train staff working in high-risk dieback management areas and is now a standard regulatory hygiene management approval requirement.

For more information about this initiative, click here.

Supercomputer to predict WA climate change 75 years into future

One of the world’s most powerful and greenest supercomputers will soon produce the most reliable and comprehensive climate change projections for Western Australia until the end of the century.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre’s Setonix supercomputer will help governments, businesses, and communities understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Setonix takes just one second to do a calculation that would take a human 1.5 billion years to achieve.

It weighs 45 tonnes and contains 12 kilometres of optical cable. Its power is equivalent to 150,000 laptops working in unison.

The state-of-the-art projections will allow the WA Government to prepare for more intense extreme weather events like cyclones, floods and bushfires, better protect WA’s unique biodiversity and support major investment decisions in energy infrastructure, planning and regional development.

The first projections are expected to be available to climate scientists next year. They will then be analysed and processed for use by a broader audience.

The project is being led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Climate Science Initiative in partnership with the New South Wales Government, Murdoch University, and the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre.

Global climate models divide the Earth into grid cells ranging from 100 to 250 kilometres. These cells are often too big to examine the impacts of climate change at local scales, where differing climate events may occur within the same grid.

The Climate Science Initiative will produce more detailed projections at a grid scale of four kilometres initially for the State’s South West for localised information to guide policy and decision-making. The North West will be covered by national climate projections at a grid scale of 20 kilometres.

For more information on the Climate Science Initiative, visit here.

Nominations open for 2023 WasteSorted Awards

Western Australia’s waste champions can now nominate for the 2023 WasteSorted Awards.

The annual awards celebrate outstanding achievements and innovative solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

This year, there are 10 categories with a new Closing the Loop Award to recognise initiatives that promote a circular economy.

The award categories include:

  • Community Waste Award
  • Schools Award
  • Business Award
  • Waste Champion Individual Award
  • Waste Champion Team Award
  • Metro Local Government/Regional Council Award
  • Regional Local Government/Regional Council Award
  • Community Engagement Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Closing the Loop Award

Nominations close 5pm on Friday 19 May 2023. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner awards ceremony in September to coincide with the Waste and Recycle Conference

For more details or to apply, visit here.