From the CEO

If I drank coffee I would have spat it out when I turned the pages of Saturday’s West Australian Real Estate section and saw the number of properties listed for sale at a lowly 3,633. Take away land and it’s even more dire – 2,807. That’s compared to 7,111 at the same time last year.  Median rent is at $600 per week with a sticky 0.7% vacancy rate.

Welcome to 2024. Many people I’ve spoken to over the holiday break were glad to see the end of the ‘Annus horribilis’ that was 2023 and are mostly optimistic about the year ahead. In WA, we are projecting a $3.7 billion surplus by the end of this financial year – the sixth consecutive surplus thanks to Twiggy and his Iron Ore mining friends. Even though the Commonwealth put their foot on the funding hose and reduced our grants by $320 million, we have an eye-watering $43.9 billion in the forward projections just for infrastructure.

Before we pop the Dom Perignon, there are a few nervous nellies about following the closure of Alcoa’s Kwinana refinery and the woes of the nickel industry leading to job losses.  There is a growing sense of trepidation around our over-reliance on the cash cow that is mining and resources to shore up our surpluses.

So in our first week back last week, we commenced briefing our government stakeholders on our Pre-Budget Submission for 2024-2025 which is exclusively focused on funding key initiatives that will help to boost our shockingly low housing supply levels in the short & medium term. ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ we say and lets put some of our surplus to maximum effect to ensure housing is both attainable and affordable in the lead up to the 2025 election.

Both infill and greenfield supply is key and we have made recommendations to support both through catalyst funding for lead infrastructure in greenfield areas and expansion of the Infrastructure Development Fund for infill to allow for State Government contribution towards the many statutory fees and charges that are hampering delivering greater density.

None of this is achievable however without a sufficient construction workforce. We’ve included some ideas to improve this as well as some critical priorities to improve environmental approvals.

Speaking of construction sector capacity, we are kicking off our 2024 event program with our first Industry Lunch of the year focused on cost, capacity and constraints in construction and what we can expect in the year ahead. It’s certainly attracting a crowd so be sure to register.

I’ll keep the Dom Perignon on ice for now and stick to the more prudent Prosecco. I hope to share a glass with you at lunch on 8 February and toast to a happier new year.

State Budget Submission

In December UDIA WA were pleased to lodge our Pre-Submission for the 2024-25 State Budget.

With a deepening housing crisis, the 2024-25 State Budget presents a significant opportunity to prioritise investments that will meaningfully accelerate delivery of much-needed supply across the housing continuum now, and to ensure Western Australia remains a great place to live, work, play and invest.

UDIA WA’s Pre-Budget Submission presents a series of ‘asks’, that we believe should be funded as a priority in the 2024-25 State Budget to accelerate much-needed supply across the housing continuum. These seek to respond to our current housing crisis and to help position WA for a better housing future.

The 2024-25 State Budget should be prepared through a housing supply and affordability lens and our submission provides practical and achievable recommendations across three key focus areas: Boosting supply across the housing continuum; Productivity improvements to increase market capacity; and Infrastructure funding ‘at the right time’ to catalyse development.

To view the 2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission, click here.

Funding Round One opens for Housing Australia Future Fund Facility and National Housing Accord Facility

Applications are now open for co-investment finance under the HAFF and NHAF. A key Federal Government initiative supporting the delivery of 20,000 new social and 20,000 new affordable homes over the next five years, Housing Australia is calling for applicants for either concessional loans or availability payments to assist in driving new supply.

Developers can partner with community housing providers and/or government through either a Special Purpose Vehicle or they can sell completed or off-the-plan stock to a community housing provider for the purposes of social and affordable housing. Affordable housing must be provided at a rent of 74.9% or less of market rent to households at below relevant median income for metropolitan and regional areas.

Projects can be mixed tenure developments, any size and Housing Australia will also consider a portfolio of projects. Round One applications close on 22 March 2024, with successful applicants to be noted in Q3 of 2024.

For further information, visit the Housing Australia website.

2024 Partnership Opportunities

As we kick start the new year, maximise your organisation’s brand exposure across key industry sectors by taking advantage of the various sponsorship and advertising opportunities available with UDIA WA.

Sponsors and advertisers gain extensive exposure alongside UDIA WA’s prominent and well received events and publications.  Our team will work with you to curate the best possible package to meet your needs.  From a one-off advertisement to annual sponsorship, find something that suits your budget and strategic objectives with UDIA WA.

For information about how you can align your business with UDIA WA through a range of opportunities, click here for our advertising opportunities and here for our full sponsorship prospectus.

Planning Portal Survey

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) have provided UDIA WA with a link to an online Planning Portal Survey for users of the system to provide feedback on their experience of it and how it can be improved.

The survey will take less than 20 minutes of your time and all responses will be used to drive improvement in how planning professionals are supported online.

The survey is open for feedback now. You can complete it here using your mobile phone or desktop computer.

UDIA is a Great Place to Work

UDIA WA are pleased to announce we have been officially certified as a Great Place to Work in Australia.

Great Place To Work (GPTW) Certification is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience – specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace.

It is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place To Work-Certified.

GPTW defines a great workplace by trust, pride, and camaraderie for all. A great workplace as one where employees trust the people they work for, have pride in the work they do, and enjoy the people they work with. And that experience must be consistent for every employee, no matter who they are, what they do, or where they work.

Unemployment rate remains steady

The National unemployment rate remained steady at 3.9% in December according to new Labour Force data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

WA’s unemployment rate was also recorded at 3.9% in December a 0.2pts increase on November. The underemployment rate in WA also increased in December, up 0.5pts to sit at 6.3%, the second lowest recording across the States.

WA also recorded the highest participation rate of all States despite the 69.4% recorded -0.3pts down on the previous month.

Nationally the underemployment rate sits at 6.5% with no change from November but the national participation rate is -0.4pts down on the previous month at 66.8%.

New plans for PCEC unveiled

On Tuesday, UDIA WA was pleased to welcome plans to redevelop and rejuvenate the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The concept proposal was unveiled by leaseholders Wyllie and Brookfield and would aim to create an iconic waterfront precinct on the Swan River, with a world-class and highly competitive convention space to attract major business events to WA is now being formally evaluated by the State Government.

The redesign would deliver a new tourism and hospitality hub for Perth which includes improving connectivity to Elizabeth Quay, showcasing the Swan River and Kings Park, and delivering a new public realm including outdoor theatre on the Swan, as well as new public waterfront facilities and new food and beverage venues.

The existing Convention Centre building would be significantly refurbished to increase capacity and capability to attract new major business events, while development opportunities would be provided for a new premium hotel, residential apartments across the affordability and accessibility spectrum, and commercial and innovation space.

Early estimates, based on an independent economic study, indicate the redevelopment would provide billions of dollars in economic benefit to the State, driving significant tourism and hospitality activity for WA.

A business case for the redevelopment will now be finalised and presented to the State Government for evaluation in mid-2024.

Annual Rainfall and Runoff Climate Change Chapter Review

Engineers Australia is approaching the final stages of the Annual Rainfall and Runoff (ARR), Climate Change Chapter Review project

ARR is one of the most widely used references to help manage flood risk for the built environment. The climate change chapter provides practitioners, designers, and decision makers with guidance on how to assess the changing risks due to climate change on design flood characteristics. This in turn, is intended to inform the design standards our built environment and public infrastructure is built to.

In May 2023, a document was released for stakeholder consultation – Update to the Climate Change Considerations chapter in Australian Rainfall and Runoff: A Guide to Flood Estimation (Discussion Paper). The stakeholder consultation process ran from 30 May to 19 June 2023.

Informed by the findings of the stakeholder consultation and a comprehensive review of the latest science, Engineers Australia developed a draft updated Climate Change Considerations Chapter, which is now open for consultation.

The project is now seeking feedback from engineers, peak industry bodies, governments and other subject matter experts on the draft chapter to ensure that the updated guidance will reflect user needs before the document is finalised in mid-2024.

Please refer to the Consultation Hub for the Have Your Say feedback opportunity, which is now open and closes on the 12 February 2024.

Refer a new member and save!

UDIA WA are providing an opportunity for our members to receive 25% off the cost of a table booking to an Industry Lunch or Breakfast.

The discount is available to members that refer a new company to become a member with UDIA WA, however the discount is only available if the referred company joins by 29 February 2024.

The 25% discount is applicable to a table booking for a UDIA WA Industry Lunch or Breakfast until 30 June 2024.

New members that join before 29 February 2024 will have the joining fee waived.

For more information, contact