From the CEO

‘Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time the quo has lost its status’.

Back in 1969, Laurence J. Peter wrote about The Peter Principle – a concept he developed from observing people in a hierarchy rising to “a level of respective incompetence”. That’s because generally we promote people who do a great job into more senior roles that require different competencies and expect them to nail it. Then act surprised and frustrated when they don’t.

Whether or not it’s the private or public sector, bureaucracy is often viewed as a necessary evil when organisations are operating in highly complex environments. Excessive rules, drawn out sign off processes and layers of hierarchy between the leadership and the entry level workers. Ultimately, it’s about risk. Risk tolerance, risk management, transferring risk to someone else. Just in case something goes wrong, we need someone to be held accountable and hope that it isn’t us.

Development is largely a game of risk, so as an industry we can be more comfortable than others with prospective failure – albeit doing what we can to mitigate that from happening. So when we engage with risk-averse process and behaviour that don’t consider the upside that exists in the overall outcome, our collective minds boggle.

The reality is that perfect decisions exist only in hindsight and the cost of indecision in the development game is wasted time, money and ultimately less housing when its needed.

Last Friday, the Premier announced the expansion of the Housing Diversity Pipeline to consider any developer-led proposals for new housing on government lazy land. This is in response to UDIA’s recommendation and is very much welcome. The immediate feedback from members was jaded by the high-hanging fruit offered under the first HDP program which quite clearly didn’t achieve its intended outcome. Totally understandable.

I am pleased to reassure members that this next process should not be like its predecessor. UDIA is working collaboratively with the State Government on the structure of the next round to use the benefit of hindsight and your insights so that the ultimate goal of boosting housing supply is realised.

Together with a number of our members, yesterday we worked through supply constraints in key growth areas with the Deputy Premier and Ministers Carey, Whitby and McGurk to inform a mechanism whereby the blockages are addressed and if possible removed, quickly. It was a constructive discussion and we will continue to work closely with the Housing Supply Unit on getting this happening.

As the Deputy Premier said yesterday, the easy land is gone. Fragmentation issues are more complex, as are the infrastructure and environmental constraints. As our circumstances have changed, we need to change our approach too.

The new approach must be based on trust, speed and empowerment. Fearing not failure, but missing opportunities to do things better.

Focus on land supply in Central region

UDIA WA hosted the third of our 2024 UDIA National Housing Pipeline® Outlook Forums at the City of Stirling on Tuesday. Proudly presented by nbn, the Forum focussed on the residential development pipeline for the Central Metropolitan Sub-Region, with a clarion focus on the constraints and opportunities for delivering both greenfield and infill dwelling supply over the coming 15 years. 

City of Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin opened proceedings with insights into the City’s perspective on the statewide housing crisis and key initiatives the City of Stirling is pursuing to streamline approvals and facilitate efficient housing supply and housing diversity.

The Mayor’s presentation was followed by UDIA WA Head of Research, Toby Adams presenting preliminary results of the second year of National Housing Pipeline® analysis of development constraints across zoned and potential future urban zoned areas, the status of enabling infrastructure and approvals required to realise forward residential development yields, and annual dwelling supply forecasts across the Central Metropolitan Sub-Region. The Central Metropolitan Sub-Region includes inner and middle ring local government authorities, for example Fremantle, Stirling, Melville, Victoria Park, South Perth, Subiaco, Nedlands and the City of Perth.

DPLH’s Planning Director, Dale Sanderson also provided an update on the Central sub-region key growth precincts before UDIA WA Executive Director Strategy and Policy, Sarah Macaulay facilitated a panel discussion focused on infill opportunities and constraints across the Central Sub-Region featuring Stevan Rodic, CEO, City of Stirling, Glen Dougall, CEO, City of Fremantle and Robert Farley, Alliance Manager City Planning, City of Perth. 

A second panel discussion featuring Gavin Hawkins, Managing Director, Edge Visionary Living, Scott Cameron, General Manager, Project Coordination, Finbar and Samantha Thompson, Managing Director, TBB then took place as they focused on infill opportunities & constraints from the industry perspective.

Participants at the Forum also provided various insights throughout the event on the top challenges and constraints for forward dwelling production across the Central Metro Sub-Region, which will be included in summary reporting to be released as part of the forthcoming UDIA National Housing Pipeline® 2024 Summary Report for Perth and Peel. 

Our thanks go to all our speakers and all those in attendance to make it an engaging and interactive session.

We extend our thanks to NHP® Presenting Partner nbn for supporting our Outlook Forum series and to the City of Stirling for providing a great venue.

UDIA National TV with Tanya Plibersek

Earlier today more than 190 UDIA Members across Australia registered to join UDIA National TV to hear from the Hon, Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for the Environment and Water.

In the conversation with Col Dutton, UDIA National President, the Minister provided an overview of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act reforms and what they will mean for the development and construction industry noting that the Act and the EPA will be reviewed regularly.

The Minister particularly emphasised that UDIA is playing a constructive role in making the case for a simpler, streamlined approval process that will lead to better housing outcomes. The Minister also said that we really need to ‘get it right’, we need the environment, and we need houses.

Commenting on her previous role as Federal Housing Minister, the Minister also expressed the need for a set of legislative changes that last and have bipartisan support for industry certainty, which also ensures any environmental benefits will be long lasting.

UDIA will continue to collaborate with all spheres of government so that, as an industry, we can support the new approach being designed and ensure that we get a good balance of jobs, housing and environmental outcomes.

Urban Greening Strategy Workshop

Last Friday, the Policy Team and members of the Environment & Climate Action Committee attended an industry workshop hosted by DPLH in relation to the ongoing consultation work for the Perth and Peel Urban Greening Strategy.

It was a useful opportunity, as a follow up to the briefing that the Environment & Climate Action Committee received at their previous committee meeting, to understand where the process currently is, the anticipated timeline and where the thinking of the respective parts of the relevant industries currently are on what the Strategy should encompass, and the opportunities and challenges that it may present.

UDIA, through our Environment & Climate Action Committee, will continue to engage with DPLH on the Strategy to provide meaningful and constructive feedback to assist in developing an implementable and positive strategy.

Environmental Approvals System Reforms

UDIA WA participated in a DWER industry session on Wednesday in relation to the environmental approvals system reforms. The Vogel-McFerran Review and Streamline WA workplan for 2024/2025 identified initiatives to improve Western Australia’s environmental approvals system, three of these included:

  • Deemed Decision Making
  • Remove Regulatory Duplication
  • Parallel Processing

To continue to deliver these important initiatives, Government is seeking feedback from key stakeholders and UDIA WA utilised this opportunity to provide feedback on the process challenges and opportunities for improvement as part of our ongoing advocacy on behalf of our members.

Early findings from the work undertaken is well aligned with the feedback that UDIA WA has provided to DWER and as part of the Vogel-McFerran Review and the direction being taken looks positive.

The consultant’s reports are being prepared now, with recommendations to be made to Government in July, further opportunities for engagement will be available as the process progresses.

Premier Lunch presents EOI opportunities

Last Friday we were delighted to be joined by over 500 attendees for our Industry Luncheon with Premier Roger Cook.  The Premier provided insights from his first year as the WA Premier and acknowledged the current housing supply crisis that is currently impacting heavily on industry.  He exclusively announced the new Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the next tranche of the Housing Diversity Pipeline.

UDIA WA welcomed the announcement, which includes a change to the EOI process that will provide the opportunity for private developers to identify appropriate government owned land for potential development.

In a statement responding the announcement, UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said that the Institute had recommended that providing the opportunity for private developers to identify appropriate government land for development, would ensure that viable sites are selected that can facilitate more housing on the ground, faster.  

“We are pleased that the State Government has listened to our advice, given we believe the private sector is best placed to deliver the housing supply we need quickly and efficiently,” Ms Steinbeck said.

During his presentation, the Premier advised that any revenue from the program would be put back into housing related initiatives.

UDIA WA were featured in multiple media reports following the announcement including in The West Australian here (plus an appearance on Page 3 of the Saturday paper), Business News here and WAToday here.

After his presentation the Premier participated in an interactive Q&A facilitated by Ms Steinbeck before attendees headed to The Merrywell for a chance to network with friends and colleagues from across the Industry.

During the lunch, UDIA WA also launched the latest edition of The Urbanist magazine which is exclusively available to members who can log in to view the edition here.

We were also thrilled to welcome a host of new members that have recently joined UDIA WA including Winrome Capital, Developed: Planning | Spatial | Delivery, Curtin Heritage Living, Plus Architecture, The Efficiency Co, PTG Consulting, Pathfinder Property Group, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Prompt Engineering Pty Ltd and Structerre Consulting.

We pass our thanks onto our Event Sponsors on the day including Blackburne, Industry Partner Harvey Norman Commercial Division, ESG Partner ReGen Strategic, Technology Partner nbn and Networking Partner

We hope attendees found this event informative and engaging and look forward to welcoming you to an upcoming event. Head to the Event Gallery here to view pictures taken on the day.

The Urbanist launch

This week UDIA WA were pleased to launch the latest edition of our member-exclusive thought-leadership magazine The Urbanist.

This edition is an election special, focusing on the issues that will impact the development industry in the lead up to and following the State and Federal Elections set to take place in 2025.

We are delighted to share an exclusive cover story interview with WA Premier the Hon. Roger Cook MLA among a variety of other high-profile contributors to this edition.

Adding to our cover story with the WA Premier this edition features:

  • Insights from Leader of the Liberals Libby Mettam and Leader of the Opposition Shane Love.
  • A Federal assessment from Minister for Housing the Hon. Julie Collins and Opposition spokesperson for Housing the Hon. Michael Sukkar.
  • An overview of our global context thanks to KPMG Geopolitical Lead, Dr Merridan Varrall.
  • Political commentaries from former Liberal Leader Zak Kirkup and GRA Partners Director Priya Brown.
  • Plus we feature an exclusive interview with the 2023 Young Development Professional winner Lachlan McCaffrey who outlines his thoughts on leadership and the importance of mentors and we also showcase the worthy WA projects that swept the UDIA National Awards for Excellence earlier this year. 

You can read the digital edition here, with hard copies being mailed directly to all members this week along with a hard copy of our recent Sustainability Showcase special edition. To read the Sustainability Showcase edition online click here.

Do you have a project, team or individual worthy of recognition?

UDIA WA Awards for Excellence provide the ultimate opportunity to showcase the incredible efforts of the development industry in Western Australia.

Make sure your project is among those getting recognised but be quick as entries close on 28 June.

Choose from a diverse range of categories, including Apartments (High-Rise & Mid-Rise Categories available)Boutique DevelopmentAffordable HousingMarketingMedium Density Development and many more.

Plus, this year we have introduced two new awards:

Team of the Year

Local Government of the Year

Both new categories are free to enter for this year only.

To start your entry, simply review the nominations kits here, get your entry info ready and then start your nomination here

Big thanks to 2024 Awards for Excellence Platinum Sponsor Western Australian Planning Commission, Gold Sponsors Lavan and Stantec and Category Sponsors Slick Design Pty Ltd, nbn Australia, Longreach Recruitment, Wormall Civil Pty Ltd, Stockland.

Support team UDIA for the CEO Sleepout

Tonight, UDIA WA President Richard Pappas will lead Team UDIA sleeping out to raise vital funds and awareness to assist homelessness initiatives at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout takes place each year with CEOs from various organisations across WA sleeping out at Optus Stadium for a night and we’re calling on our members to either support the UDIA WA’s teams efforts by donating this year.

UDIA WA has been involved with the event for the past few years taking a committed team of members helping to raise thousands of dollars each year and we’re looking to do the same this year.

If you would like to donate to the cause, you can do so here.

Understanding Medium Density development in WA

On Monday UDIA WA were pleased to host our new one-day course that focused on providing a solid introduction to the key considerations and opportunities in planning, designing, and delivering high quality medium density development in WA.

The course included presentations from UDIA WA President and Managing Director Celsius Property Group Richard Pappas, CLE Town Planning + Design’s Simon Burnell and Alex Watson, Taylor Burrell Barnett’s Trent Will and Karen Hyde, Niche Planning Studio’s Nicola Smith and Tamara Vreeken, Summit Homes Group’s Hamish Gleeson, Hames Sharley’s Tim Boekhoorn and Georgia Young and Stockland’s Lachlan McCaffrey in a highly interactive and engaging set of sessions.

We pass our thanks onto all our presenters and hope attendees found the course an engaging and informative day with plenty of takeaways to apply to their projects.

Jane Bennett appointed to EPA

UDIA WA congratulates current UDIA WA Councillor and former Vice President Jane Bennett on her appointment for a three-year term with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Ms Bennett joins Deputy Chair Lee McIntosh and Fiona Haslam McKenzie, Darren Walsh, and Hamish Beck on the independent authority’s board.

EPA members are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Environment Minister.

Ms Bennett currently sits on the board of WA Planning Commission and Development WA as well as being a councillor with UDIA WA and is former UDIA WA Women in Leadership recipient.

To find out more about the UDIA WA Women in Leadership Award that is currently open for nominations, download the brochure here.

Funding to support delivery of 363 new apartments

Earlier this week the State Government announced its Infrastructure Development Fund will support a further 363 new apartments across suburban Perth with eight successful projects announced as part of a $3.63 million investment.

Under the $80 million Fund, the Cook Government is supporting eligible projects to address upfront costs for essential services and infrastructure such as connection to electricity, water and sewerage.

Since establishment, the Fund has allocated $37 million to support 57 residential development projects with a potential yield of more than 3,700 apartments.

The new projects include a mixed-use development in Cockburn Central, which will deliver 109 apartments as well as a hotel, a lodging house and commercial floorspace.

The development will receive up to $1.09 million – with a maximum of $10,000 allocated for each residential apartment to connect to essential services.

Other projects supported by this round of funding include new developments in Midland, Shenton Park, Fremantle and Sorrento.

Applications for the Fund remain open until 6 September 2024, or until funds are exhausted.

For more information visit here.

RBA holds cash rate

At the Reserve Bank Board Monetary Policy meeting earlier this week the Board decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35% and the interest rate paid on Exchange Settlement balances unchanged at 4.25%.

In announcing the decision, the Board said inflation has fallen substantially since its peak in 2022, as higher interest rates have been working to bring aggregate demand and supply closer towards balance. But the pace of decline has slowed in the most recent data, with inflation still some way above the midpoint of the 2–3 per cent target range.

“The economic outlook remains uncertain and recent data have demonstrated that the process of returning inflation to target is unlikely to be smooth,” the statement read.

“The central forecasts published in May were for inflation to return to the target range of 2–3 per cent in the second half of 2025 and to the midpoint in 2026.”

The statement continued by reiterating the Board’s commitment to returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe.

“The Board needs to be confident that inflation is moving sustainably towards the target range. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target and it is important that this remains the case,” the statement said.

“Inflation is easing but has been doing so more slowly than previously expected and it remains high. The Board expects that it will be some time yet before inflation is sustainably in the target range.”

To read the statement in full, click here.

Call for nominations: Diversity & Inclusion working group

UDIA WA is establishing a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group that will report directly to the UDIA WA Education, Connection & Excellence Strategic Committee and provide advice and oversight of the Institute’s performance in relation to diversity and inclusion.  The Group will be appointed for a 20-month term, commencing in May 2024 and ending in December 2025.

Overall, the group will provide a forum for discussion of diversity and inclusion related issues within the organisation and more broadly in the urban development industry, as well as provide advice in relation to UDIA WA policy, performance and activities in relation to diversity and inclusion.

If you are interested in nominating for this group, please follow the link here to the nomination form and more detailed Terms of Reference.  Any questions about the group can be directed to UDIA WA Executive Manager Communications & Engagement Gemma Osiejak: