Economic diversification and fiscal stimulus needed to combat economic contraction: Jonathan Pain

When news of the coronavirus first started to filter out into the world, some economists tried to play down the impact it would have on the world economy, a move that baffled leading global economist Jonathan Pain. Mr Pain advised an enrapt audience of more than 400 people at UDIA WA’s industry lunch last Friday that the impact of coronavirus was a ‘global cardiac arrest’, one we need to face the economic reality of.

To read this full piece, click here.

Transition Period agreed for Energy Efficiency Provisions

On Tuesday the State Government advised that it will be providing an additional transition period for the heating and cooling loads in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 energy efficiency provisions.

The Housing industry Association (HIA) advises that the decision ensures the NCC 2019 requirements provide a robust, workable and pragmatic solution that caters to the Western Australian context.

A time limit has not been set for the transition period, but it is likely to extend up till NCC 2022 takes effect.

It is important to note that this deferral is specific to the heating and cooling load limit requirements. The remainder of the NCC 2019 changes will take effect in Western Australia on 1 May this year.

HIA are running an information session for their members on the 2019 changes, please contact HIA for more details.

Latest Urban Development Index released

On Tuesday, the latest edition of UDIA’s Urban Development Index covering Quarter 4 of 2019 was released and showed the number of lots sold was down on the previous quarter but the average price of those lots was slightly up on the September quarter.

The average price of lots sold in the quarter sat at $226,941, 0.9% higher than the previous quarter and 0.9% higher than the December 2018 quarter. In comparison to the December 2018 quarter, the December 2019 quarter generally performed well with the number of lots sold and the size of the lots up on 12 months previous.

On the supply side the 1,353 lots under construction within the next six months was higher than in the September 2019 quarter, as was the 2,842 lots currently on the market.

To view a summary of the UDI in more detail, you will need to use your UDIA Members Login here or to access Urbis Loop which contains the full suite of detailed UDI data, along with limited access to Urbis’ Apartment Essentials Dashboard, click here. Urbis Loop requires a separate login, if you don’t have one please contact

UDIA urges need for a realistic debate

UDIA WA is calling for a realistic debate on Perth’s future growth following a recent article on WAtoday about a number of protestors calling for an inquiry into Planning Minister Rita Saffioti’s use of discretionary powers to approve projects.

To read this full piece, click here.

UDIA WA meets with the Premier

A couple of weeks ago UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck sat down with the Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan for an exclusive chat about his vision for Perth, the development industry and much more.

UDIA will be sharing more information and details about how to read the Premier’s thoughts and comments next week!

Meeting with DPLH: Community Titles Act 2018

UDIA met with representatives from the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage this week to discuss the recently released Community Titles Discussion Paper and the implementation of the Community Titles regulatory framework.

UDIA is currently preparing its submission responding to the Discussion Paper and welcomes feedback to help inform this submission.

Feedback should be provided to ahead of the consultation closing date on 28 February.

Building Code Discussion Paper released for comment

On Tuesday the Australian Government released for a discussion paper on the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Works 2016.

The paper sets out 23 questions and the Attorney-General’s Department is inviting written submissions on the Code’s operation and potential areas where it could be strengthened to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

The review is focused on ensuring Australia’s industrial relations system achieves the best overall balance, having regard to the needs of employees and employers, including those engaged in small business.

Submissions close 3 April, 2020.  Please submit any feedback on the paper to prior to this date.

Western Australians invited to have their say on waste reform

Earlier today, the State Government released two consultation papers on waste reform in WA – ‘Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy’ and ‘Review of the waste levy’ before inviting people to comment on these reforms via an online consultation survey.

The proposed reforms support implementation of the ‘Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030’.

‘Closing the loop: waste reforms for a circular economy’ outlines legislative proposals to improve waste management in WA including:

  • reforming landfill and solid waste storage facility licensing under the Environmental Protection Act 1986;
  • reviewing the application of the waste levy at waste facilities, including new measures to reduce long-term solid waste stockpiling;
  • targeting illegal waste disposal through new compliance and enforcement mechanisms; and
  • strengthening of waste reporting and tracking in WA to ensure the proper disposal of waste.

The ‘Review of the waste levy’ canvasses broader strategic issues related to the waste levy’s design, including the geographical area of the levy, and a schedule of future levy rates. To allow time for the review to be completed, there will be no increase to the waste levy for 2020‑21.

Comment on the papers can be provided over a 12-week period via an online consultation, here.

UDIA WA CEO attends new apartment opening

On Wednesday UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck travelled to Clarkson for the official opening of Now Living’s new Cambria development.

Designed for modern living, Cambria in Clarkson is a medium density development made up of just 13 apartments, all filled with light airy spaces and expansive balconies. It is situated within walking distance to the Clarkson Train Station and the Mindarie Marina and Oceans Keys Shopping Centre is just a few minutes away.

For more information, click here.

Big week for METRONET

This week has been one of big announcements for the progression of three key METRONET projects, including the Morley-Ellenbrook train line, the Forrestfield-Airport Link and the Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal project.

The biggest announcement concerned the Morley-Ellenbrook Line as it will now be enshrined into law, after the Legislative Council passed an amendment to the required enabling legislation on Tuesday evening.

The Railway (METRONET) Amendment Bill 2019 authorises construction of the rail infrastructure, which will halve the public transport journey time for passengers travelling between Ellenbrook and the CBD.

The next step is for the Bill to be sent for royal assent by Governor Kim Beazley.

There was also a big announcement for the Forrestfield-Airport Link project on Tuesday as tunnel-boring machine (TBM) Grace broke through the Bayswater dive structure, marking the end of her eight-kilometre journey.

Having set off in late July 2017, TBM Grace built one of two tunnels that will house the $1.86 billion project’s rail lines.

Half of the 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments – used to form the walls of the twin tunnels – were installed during Grace’s journey, with her route taking her under Perth Airport and the Swan River and through diverse ground conditions.

On the way she passed through Airport Central and Redcliffe Station boxes, large structures in their own right.

TBM Grace will now be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure in preparation for the arrival of TBM Sandy, who is a safe distance behind Grace and is expected to finish tunnelling in May.

Trains are set to run on the new rail line in the second half of 2021, providing a 20-minute rail link between the eastern foothills, Perth Airport and the Perth central business district.

Completing a triumvirate of announcements for METRONET this week, Downer EDI were announced as the preferred proponent to deliver the road component of the Denny Avenue METRONET level crossing removal project, at the start of the week.

The company was also named as the preferred proponent to deliver the rail component package in December 2019.

The Denny Avenue level crossing removal project, which will replace the level crossing with a rail-over-road underpass at the nearby Davis Road, will be delivered through two separate design and construction contracts.

Work to be done as part of the road package includes realigning Third Avenue, sinking Davis Road under the elevated rail line, new cul-de-sacs for Third and Slee avenues, and works on Albany Highway.

Davis Road will be widened from two to four lanes, and three sets of traffic lights will be installed at the Albany Highway, Streich Avenue and Railway Avenue intersections.

Maintain accreditation to show customers you mean business

Not only is Alkimos Beach part of the biggest and most significant coastal development north of Perth in 50 years, it has a knack for firsts.

To read this full piece, click here.

Opportunities in the State Administrative Tribunal

The President of the State Administrative Tribunal will soon be advertising for several Full-time Tribunal members.

The President may be interested in receiving applications from specialist members (who need not necessarily be legally qualified) with relevant expertise to carry out work in the Tribunal’s Development and Resources area.

In particular, people with considerable expertise in planning, heritage, urban design, architecture and other such related fields that are concerned with the built environment, who also have strong communication skills and ethics, may want to consider any advertisement that invites applications for full time members of the Tribunal to see if they would qualify for making an application.

In addition, the Tribunal currently does not have very many sessional (casual) members who work in the Development and Resources area and would be interested in considering any person who is interested in such work who has relevant qualifications and experience.

If anyone is interested in this type of work, ordinarily an expression of interest is lodged with the Tribunal’s Chief Executive Officer and they are considered by the President from time to time.

It is important, if any person is considering seeking appointment as a sessional member, that they carefully consider whether his or her usual work would cause them to be in a position of conflict of interest if also working from time to time as a Tribunal member.

For more information about the State Administrative Tribunal, click here.

Strata reform update and readiness sessions

According to the latest Strata reform update, the amended Strata Titles Act 1985 is proposed to commence on 1 May 2020. This date is subject to the Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 progressing through the parliamentary process and may change as a result, however Landgate expects to confirm the commencement date in April 2020.

As there will be new requirements within WA’s strata framework that may apply to you on commencement of the amended STA, Landgate are holding community readiness sessions across Perth and select regional areas in April 2020.

Session dates, locations and registration details will be announced soon.

Prior to commencement, the following resources will also be available on the Strata website:

  • An updated guide to strata titles
  • A new guide to consolidating by-laws

For more information and access to the above resources, click here.

Perth becomes headquarters for next stage of the space race

In a move that will ensure Western Australia has a leading role in the Australia-NASA Moon to Mars partnership Perth has been chosen for the headquarters for the national entity Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE).

The industry-led, not-for-profit consortium will position Perth as a global centre for remote operations in space and enable Western Australian industry and universities to bid for space exploration projects including NASA’s Lunar Gateway.

AROSE is being led by founding partners Woodside, Fugro, Nova Systems, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.

The consortium capitalises on the WA resource sector’s position as global leaders in autonomous and remote operations to develop technologies and services for space that will benefit future exploration, such as mining for water on the Moon.

PwC economic modelling estimates that in five years’ time the remote operations opportunities derived through AROSE will improve WA’s economy by $196 million on an annual basis and create 1,540 jobs in WA.

The adoption of digital and automation technologies in the mining, oil and gas sectors has the potential to add $74 billion to the Australian economy and create 80,000 new jobs by 2030 according to a 2019 AlphaBeta report.

New funding option for undergrounding power

A trial of a new funding model that will allow more Western Australians to access the benefits of underground power was announced by Energy Minister Bill Johnston earlier this week.

Western Power’s Network Renewal Underground Program Pilot will be tested in four suburbs where significant capital works projects have been planned to replace and upgrade sections of overhead network.

Local governments invited to participate in the pilot are the Town of Bassendean (Eden Hill), City of Stirling (Scarborough), City of Fremantle (Hilton) and the Town of Victoria Park with the City of Canning (St James).

Under the pilot model, local government authorities are being given the option to contribute additional funds to cover the difference between like-for-like pole replacement and the cost of converting the area to underground power.

Because the poles and wires in the pilot areas are old and due to be replaced, the cost to homes and businesses are expected to be lower than the State Government-led Underground Power Program and other local government-led programs for undergrounding.

Kids Bridge connects sick children with nature

Earlier this week it was announced a new ‘Kids Bridge’ will be built to connect the Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) to Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

The creation of the bridge will allow sick children, their families and hospital staff to cross busy Winthrop Avenue with ease, connecting kids with the beauty and nature on offer at Kings Park.

Main Roads will manage the design, construction and maintenance of the bridge, working collaboratively with Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation, Child and Adolescent Health Service, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, QEII Medical Centre Trust and the City of Perth.

The bridge will provide opportunities for both inpatients and outpatients and their families to access Kings Park while they are at PCH receiving treatment. It will also provide a huge opportunity for a range of therapies, including allied health, to be delivered in an environment which harnesses the health and wellbeing benefits of nature.

Construction tenders are expected to be advertised in the second half of this year with construction completed by the end of 2021.

Trajectories: the interplay between mental health and housing pathways

This week saw the official launch of the Trajectories: the interplay between mental health and housing pathways final report.

Trajectories is one of the first national studies to examine the relationship between the housing and mental health pathways of people with lived experience of mental ill-health.

The Trajectories research project was conducted by Mind Australia and AHURI to develop a clearer understanding of experiences within the housing and mental health systems in order to identify potential points of practical intervention and key issues for system improvement.

As part of the research; interviews and focus groups were conducted with service practitioners, carers, and individuals with lived experience of mental-ill health.

The final report and several supporting reports can be accessed 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

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

Overseas Arrivals and Departures

According to the latest ABS data, the short-term visitor arrivals for WA increased 7.4% YoY in December 2019 to 111,800, the largest percentage increase of all the state/territories, bar the ACT which lifted 15.2%.

Nationally, December saw a 1.9% YoY increase in the number of short-term visitors arriving in Australia, with 1 in 10 (10.4%) of these being from China. This was the third highest level of short-term visitors arriving from any one single country, behind New Zealand (13.3% of total) and the United Kingdom (11.0% of total).

Despite these encouraging results, the effects of the coronavirus and Australia’s travel ban on visitors from mainland China have not yet been exhibited in this data, the first few months of 2020 are likely to showcase diminished numbers from China due in part to these factors.

Wage Price Index, Australia

Despite fairly stagnant wage growth in Western Australia for many years, ABS data from the December quarter shows some slightly more encouraging results.

In the December quarter, WA private sector wages maintained an annual growth rate of 1.8% for the second consecutive quarter. This increase is the highest level of growth since June 2015, although the figure is still below the 2.2% national wage growth rate for the year to December 2019.

 Site Security Update

Four burglaries in the space of two weeks in the Golden Vines Private Estate, Dayton, has seen offenders steal a large quantity of kitchen cupboard doors, kitchen and bathroom taps and an installed oven.

Inquiries are continuing with forensic examinations collecting evidence from the scene that will hopefully identify offenders.

A four-unit site in Coolbellup had a large number of plants and outdoor lights stolen with PACT investigators checking with residents for possible CCTV footage.

More information on how you can work with PACT Site Security here.