From the CEO

I do love Christmas.

The endless functions, Mariah Carey on every audio device, watching Love Actually for the 1,000th time and the last-minute government announcements.

In this, the 1,000th edition of Urban Express I wanted to acknowledge the support and encouragement from our members & stakeholders over the last 12 months. In September, we undertook a Stakeholder Perception Audit with our key parliamentary and public sector stakeholders and the feedback reinforced that our advocacy & engagement approach is highly valued, respected and seriously considered. Apparently, I also have a sense of humour.

Our members have continued to support us in many ways across our events, Awards for Excellence, policy committees, data insights and it was an honour to celebrate and reflect on our 50th year of existence with some of our longest standing members and greatest advocates. Members are at the centre of everything we do. I take great pride in defending our industry against the Dr Honey’s of the world and highlighting the true value we bring to our economy and community.

Thank you to the UDIA WA Councillors throughout the year that have continued to guide the focus and direction of the organisation in their own time led by Col and now Richard. The brains trust around the Council table is demonstrative of the commitment our industry has to delivering great places and housing choice.

Our team have been a source of encouragement, support and inspiration to me. Sarah, Claire, Gemma, Toby, Isaac, Renan, Chris, Georgia, Ash, Nijeeya and our effervescent pooch Gracie. Thank you for your tireless contribution to serving our members and supporting me.

2023 has been the most personally challenging year of my life and I couldn’t have got through to today without many of you. The greatest gift I have this Christmas is having my daughter alive to celebrate with us. There were many times this year when I thought that may not be the case, so I encourage you to soak up and enjoy every moment with your friends and family this festive season. Even the annoying ones.

Wishing you and yours all the happiness and precious memories. See you in 2024.

Urban Express hits 1,000th Edition!

As we close out on a fantastic 50th year representing the community creators across Western Australia, it is fitting that our final edition of Urban Express this year is also our 1,000th edition.

This is a significant milestone for our regular member update that is consistently noted by members as their top source of industry news.

UDIA WA takes pride in providing our members with the most timely, relevant and important industry news each week and we hope that you enjoy reading the 1000th edition before heading on a much needed festive season break.

Check out UDIA WA’s socials for a range of posts that provide a snapshot of ‘the year that was’, including UDIA WA’s activities, events and milestones throughout our 50th anniversary year.

Seasons Greetings from the team at UDIA WA

UDIA WA would like to wish all our members a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

As the year draws to a close, we take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to our members for your dedication and hard work throughout 2023.  It has been a pleasure working together, and UDIA WA appreciate the strong support we continue to receive from our membership each year.

May this festive season bring joy, laughter, and moments of relaxation with family and friends.

A huge thank you to all our members, partners, supporters and valued stakeholders for your ongoing support.

From the UDIA WA team – Tanya, Sarah, Gemma, Claire, Toby, Georgia, Chris, Isaac, Ashleigh, Renan, Nijeeya and our office doggo Gracie!

Please note the UDIA WA office will be closed from 4pm Friday 22 December and will reopen on Monday 8 January 2024.

Building reform announced

UDIA WA shared the news yesterday in an alert to members that the State Government has announced reforms to Western Australia’s building laws based on the 24 recommendations of the national Building Confidence Report.

As anticipated, mandatory notifiable stage inspections are included as part of the reform and will initially focus on apartment developments of 4 storeys and higher as well as commercial buildings, with scope to apply to residential housing construction following a review of the rollout, which is due to commence in 2026.

UDIA WA is an advocate for the increasing densification of Perth and has been working collaboratively with the State Government in the lead up to yesterday’s announcement to ensure a considered and contextually appropriate response to the Building Confidence Report.

The application of a consistent minimum inspection regime for apartments is a welcome step for increasing consumer confidence in the development industry and we recognise that the majority of UDIA WA members are already meeting or exceeding their compliance obligations.

You can read our member alert in full here.

UDIA WA’s media release can be read here.

Western Power progress update

On Wednesday, UDIA WA shared the third of what will be regular updates to members in relation to the considerable progress underway to resolve issues in delay times for securing clearances and gaining energization with Western Power. We understand that these delays are impacting the timely delivery of crucially needed housing.

To deliver this housing we’re working extensively with Western Power to ensure developers receive timely clearances for subdivision conditions to enable lot creation to occur, balanced with timely completion of Design Conformance Review (DCR) to ensure energisations are not delayed post the issuance of titles.

Finding workable solutions with Western Power is our top priority.

This was the third update to members in the last two months in providing progress on the work UDIA WA has proactively been doing with Western Power to improve the situation, as we continue to keep our members fully informed.

The update included information on recent meetings with the Premier and Energy Minister’s offices, the proposed new process for early clearances, data in relation to Western Power performance indicators for land and built form projects, the DCR Pilot trial and a reminder that the UDS Manual draft changes are currently out for comment until Friday 19 January 2024.

For all the details, you can read the latest UDIA WA Member Update here.

Read the previous Member Updates in relation to our work with Western Power here and here.

UDIA National President’s Message

As this year comes to a close, UDIA National President Col Dutton has taken the opportunity to reflect on the Institute’s policy and advocacy nationally and on some of the major advocacy outcomes that have been achieved for members in 2023.

This year the Federal Government has demonstrated a strong focus on addressing the current housing crisis through the National Housing Accord.  This major initiative is crucial for Australia to build a supply pipeline to meet the dual need for immigration to deliver more workers for business and housing to meet that demand.

Ensuring UDIA has a seat at the table on every major issue impacting industry is a priority, as is collaborating with Government to create practical and economically sustainable strategies.

We do this by continuing to provide practical and workable solutions with policy makers across all levels of Government and stakeholders throughout the economy. Through our investment in evidence-based research, we seek to build better communities for future generations and the contribution that each State office makes to the National agenda, enables us to gain the trust of policy makers.

Several core themes have emerged around boosting housing supply across the continuum; delivering Australia’s environmental and climate change agenda; and re-tooling of infrastructure coordination.

UDIA members can read the full President’s message here.

Latest stats released

UDIA WA are pleased to release the latest Urban Intelligence report, our monthly economic and residential property market update.

This month’s report includes a feature article exploring The Five Headline Trends of 2023 by Executive Manager Research, Toby Adams, the latest Land Snapshot data, House and Land Settlement data and Economic trends, including building approvals and lending indicators.

Read the latest edition, here.

We would like to thank our Research Partners Landgate, Urbis and CoreLogic for their support in producing our research publications.

DPLH/WAPC Quarterly Meeting

On Monday, UDIA met with senior representatives from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and Western Australian Planning Commission. Items for discussion included:

  • WAPC/DPLH’s role in strategic infrastructure coordination,
  • Opportunities to enhance collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation,
  • UDIA’s advocacy around improvements to the development contributions model
  • Various matters related to the Government’s planning reforms.

UDIA values our ongoing engagement with DPLH and WAPC and we look forward to continuing to collaborate to ensure the best outcomes for delivering housing across Western Australia in the new year.

State Infrastructure Strategy progress report released

Infrastructure WA has released its inaugural annual Implementation Progress Report on the State Infrastructure Strategy – Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow.

The report, which covers the period between February and June 2023, outlines the actions of 26 lead government agencies and trading enterprises in implementing the strategy’s recommendations, taking into account the Western Australian Government’s Response to the Strategy.

Foundations for a Stronger Tomorrow made 93 recommendations aimed at enhancing the economic, social and environmental outcomes delivered through the State’s infrastructure system. It highlights the need to build smart, integrated, sustainable and resilient infrastructure that maximises value to the community and industry.

In its response to the strategy, the State Government committed to 143 actions against the strategy recommendations. The Department of the Premier and Cabinet has further refined this program of work, identifying 156 reportable government actions led by 26 lead agencies and government trading enterprises. Of these actions, 10 have been completed, 135 are in progress, and 11 are set to commence in coming years.

The report found that good progress has been made in implementing many of the strategy’s recommendations. It also highlighted the need for ongoing efforts in some areas, such as Aboriginal participation across the infrastructure life cycle, further housing diversity and supply improvements, and better understanding of infrastructure needs to support the energy transition.

It is anticipated that work will commence next year on developing the next State Infrastructure Strategy, which is due to be finalised in mid-2027.

Read the Progress Report here.

UDIA WA State Conference featuring Mark McGowan

UDIA WA is excited to announce that former Premier Mark McGowan will headline our March 2024 State Conference!

In his first formal speaking engagement since leaving office, Mr McGowan will share his insights into the public sector, economy and industry.

The program also includes keynote presentations from Dr Craig Challen SC OAM, Aaron Morey and Alex Bruce with more speakers to be added to the line up in coming weeks. Topics in the program include:

  • Facilitating speed to market to increase housing supply
  • Expanding community and affordable housing
  • WA’s economy and growth prospects
  • Attracting and retaining the construction workforce of the future
  • DA Decision Making – Design Review, DAPs and developing a better Perth
  • Energy, environment and enabling development and more.

Get in early and secure your spot as places will fill quickly.  More details and to register here.

Water reform abandoned

Plans to consolidate six separate pieces of legislation that govern Western Australia’s water resources management system will not proceed, according to a statement by Water Minister the Hon. Simone McGurk.

The plans for reform were originally announced in 2006 with the intent to simplify water management.  However, according to the Minister, feedback to date has indicated that many of the existing and long-standing arrangements are suitable.

This includes the current process for licensing of dams, the issuing of water licences for a period of 10 years, water allocation planning to manage water resources and exemptions from the need to have a water licence, including those applying to springs.

All existing water licensing arrangements and conditions will be maintained, as will the approaches for the trading and transfer of water licences.

According the Minister’s statement, the State Government will now focus on water infrastructure to unlock thousands of new homes, supporting the regions through programs such as Healthy Estuaries WA and delivering secure water supply to remote Aboriginal communities.

New Water Corporation Chair announced

Water Minister Simone McGurk has announced the appointment of former resources executive Andrea Sutton as Chair of Water Corporation’s Board of Directors.

Ms Sutton replaces outgoing Chair Ross Love, who stepped down in October to pursue business opportunities overseas.

Ms Sutton was previously CEO and Managing Director of Energy Resources of Australia following a 19-year career with Rio Tinto where, among other roles, she held the position of General Manager of Infrastructure, Iron Ore.

She currently sits on several Boards, including Iluka Resources and The National Association of Women in Operations, with extensive experience as a non-executive director for ASX-listed, Government and not-for-profit organisations.

She will be joined by incoming Board member and new Chair of Water Corporation’s Audit and Risk Committee David Smith, who brings extensive experience at senior levels of governance.

Minister McGurk also thanked long-serving Board member and current interim Chair David Lock and fellow Board member Dr Carla Boehl who’ll step down from their roles on 31 December.

UDIA WA Christmas fundraiser

Homes for Homes is UDIA WA’s Charity Partner for 2023-24. This Christmas we would like to encourage our members to make a donation to Homes for Homes by using this unique link.

All donations made using this link will go toward UDIA WA’s Homes for Homes Christmas Fundraiser.

To find out more about Homes for Homes and the fantastic work they do toward ending homelessness by building social and affordable housing, visit here.

UDIA National Congress 2024 – limited accommodation available

Accommodation at The Crown in Melbourne for UDIA National Congress dates is almost sold out!

To secure your accommodation and avoid disappointment, book now using the following link.

UDIA National Congress will be held at Crown Melbourne on 18 – 20 March 2024 and will feature high profile speakers focusing on the urban development industry in Australia, international case studies, and what’s next in terms of innovation and market demand.

Find out more here.