UDIA joins fellow industry bodies on retiring WA’s housing debt

UDIA WA was pleased to once again collaborate with fellow industry organisations this week, writing to Dr Anne Aly MP requesting her support in urging the Federal Treasurer to waive WA’s housing debt to the Commonwealth.

UDIA WA along with Shelter WA, Master Builders WA, REIWA and the Property Council co-signed the letter that further requested that the WA state government would be required to allocate any savings from the forgiven debt toward addressing homelessness and housing affordability in the state.

As at 30 June 2018, WA had a total housing related debt of approximately $323.6M which costs the State $18.2M in interest and $17M in principal repayments for this year alone.

Read the full letter to Dr Aly here.

Off the Plan duty rebate scheme – follow up

As mentioned last week, UDIA WA has been working with a joint industry group to address the unintended consequences of the state government’s new off the plan duty rebate scheme.

A final letter to the Treasurer has been sent outlining our members concerns regarding the implementation and timeframes associated with the scheme, with the result being delayed apartment projects and a marked sales disadvantage for existing apartment stock.

Investors struggle to find opportunity in Australian infrastructure market

The latest Australian Infrastructure Investment Report 2019 produced by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has found that while interest from investors in Australian infrastructure remains strong, competition and lack of opportunity is creating challenges in finding new opportunities.

Many of the risks involved in investing in the Australian market are seen as a consequence of a flourishing market, with Australia seen as an investment location of choice for international investors.

Specifically, interest in renewable energy generation is high, but policy uncertainty is creating risk.  Across all areas, investors remain concerned about policy and regulatory uncertainty.

Read the full report here.

Federal government announces big infrastructure spend

Speaking of infrastructure investment, the federal government announced yesterday that it would bring forward $3.8 billion worth of national infrastructure project funding in order to stimulate the economy.

Western Australia is set for a $868 million injection of funding that will be brought forward toward several planned road infrastructure projects including $284 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road, $160 million for the Tonkin Highway Gap and $16 million for the Fremantle Traffic Bridge.

New money has also been announced for the Mitchell Freeway, Lakelands Train Station, and several intersection upgrades.

Last Chance! UDIA Nominations close Friday 22 November

There is only one day left for UDIA members to nominate for a position on one of the 2020-21 committees. UDIA committee places are limited and highly sought after so this may be the last opportunity to get onto a committee until 2021.  We recommend you don’t miss the deadline.

Nominations are being accepted for the following UDIA Committees: Environment; Housing Diversity; Industry Workforce & Diversity; Infrastructure; Land Use Planning; Outlook (Young Professionals); and Urban Water until COB Friday 22 November, 2019.

Apply now to assist in leading the planning, implementation and delivery of the Institute’s policy and advocacy agenda; and actively identify and address strategic opportunities and challenges faced by the urban development industry.

Further information is available on the UDIA website here.

WA’s economic growth remains slow

According to the ABS, Western Australia’s Gross State Product (GSP) annual growth was the slowest in the country in 2018-19 at just 1%.  That is compared with 3% in Victoria and 1.9% in New South Wales.

Mining continues to dominate the WA economy with 8.0 growth while the Construction sector detracted from growth recording -18.7%.

Mining contributed over 30% of total industry GVA. Mining growth was driven by Iron Ore Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction, reflecting strong global demand for Australian commodities. Mining activity continued to expand as the industry invested in machinery and equipment driven by innovations through automation. Construction GVA detracted in 2018-19, falling 18.7%, reflecting continued declines in private new engineering construction as mining projects transition out of investment into production.

WA GSP rose 10.6% in nominal terms, driven by rises in LNG and Iron ore prices coupled with increased production and exports. Iron Ore Mining was the main contributor to this growth.

More details here.

AI report highlights opportunities

The CSIRO in partnership with the Department of Industry Innovation and Science has published a report on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can boost the productivity of Australian industry, creating jobs and economic growth.

The report focuses on where AI can address ‘big problems’ such as healthy ageing; cities and infrastructure; and natural resources and environment.

Australia has already established world-leading capabilities in several core AI related fields, and it is already being used widely in government, industry and start-ups. This report explores the untapped opportunities to maximise future benefits and recommends a number of actions.

Read the full report here.

Feedback sought on native vegetation management

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has released a Native Vegetation in Western Australia issues paper that is out for a 12-week consultation period.

The paper proposes four initiatives aimed at providing better protection for vegetation where it is most needed and help streamline assessment processes including a State Native Vegetation Policy; better information, including mapping and monitoring; improved regulatory processes; and a regionally tailored approach.

For more information visit the DWER website 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 policy@udiawa.com.au

  • DWER Climate Change in Western Australia – Issues Paper (here). Submissions close November 29, 2019.
  • Draft East Wanneroo District Structure Plan (here). Submissions close December 20, 2019.
  • Draft Position Statement: Residential Aged Care (here). Submissions close January 19, 2020.
  • Environmental Protection Act 1986 amendments consultation (here). Submissions close January 28, 2020.

Unemployment rate increases

According to the latest from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in October, the WA unemployment rate fell 19 basis points (bps) month-on-month (MoM) to 5.4% (5.7% trend and seasonally adjusted), on par with the same time last year, but above the national rate of 5.05%.

The number of employed persons in WA increased 0.6% MoM and 0.8% year-on-year (YoY) to sit at 1.359 million.

Read the full details here.

Site security update 

The Banksia Grove area is currently a high risk area for burglaries after 6 burglaries were reported in the last week. In the latest incident on 19/11/19 investigators had installed GPS tracking units into whitegoods on a number of high risk sites.

Offenders broke into one of the premises stealing uninstalled rangehood, hotplate and hot water units from the property. Although GPS tracking was not able to assist in identifying the offenders on this occasion it did allowed investigators to track the stolen property to an area close by where the property had been concealed. All property was recovered and returned to the site. For more information on assisting land development areas to reduce crime go here.

Carbon farming in Western Australia 

Carbon Farming is being discussed around the globe as one instrument to combat the rise of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and help Australia meet its “Nationally Determined Contributions” under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Glen McLeod Legal, Murdoch University and the Harry Butler Institute are running a seminar on the opportunities and challenges in relation to the potential of carbon farming in Western Australia on 27 November. The seminar will bring together scientists, legal academics, policy makers and experts from affected industries to learn and discuss.

More details here.

Heat mitigation benefits of living turf

Research in recent years has started to explore how different land surface types contribute to either create cooler, or warmer cities. An area of growing interest is the role that living turf plays in urban heat mitigation.

UWA is hosting a presentation by Dr Mark Siebentritt, Director and General Manager with Edge Environment, which will outline the key findings on the heat impacts of these land surface types and explore what this means for policy and planning as we further develop and grow our cities in a changing climate.

This is a free event on Thursday 28 November from 4.00pm to 5.00pm at the UWA Campus, Simmonds Lecture Theatre G01. More details here.

Baby News! 

It has been a huge week for families at UDIA! A big congratulations to our Research and Policy Director Chris Green on the birth of his son Thomas yesterday afternoon.  Also to our Communications Officer Chris Thurmott on the birth of his baby boy Leonardo earlier in the week!  We are so happy for both families and wish them all the best. We hope all parents get some sleep over the next few weeks!