UDIA Council and new Strategic Committee nominations now open!

Members will have received an email on Tuesday outlining the nomination process for UDIA Council and our newly established Strategic Committees.

UDIA WA’s policy platform is built around three key pillars: Economy, Environment & Liveability. These three core priorities drive our approach towards creating sustainable, liveable communities.

In 2021, the UDIA WA Council endorsed a revised governance structure to ensure structural strategic alignment throughout the organisation and a laser focus on achieving our goals.

In addition to UDIA WA Council, three new Strategic Committees have been formed in alignment with our policy pillars. These committees will be supported by advisory groups aligned with the current committee structure.

UDIA WA are now calling for leaders from across the industry, from a diverse range of skills and backgrounds to come forward and nominate for several positions and play a role in shaping the future of development in Western Australia.

Read more here.

Premier launches State Infrastructure Strategy

It has been a long wait, but the final draft of Infrastructure Western Australia’s 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy was launched yesterday.  A strategic plan for long term infrastructure planning, funding and delivery has been a major aspect of UDIA WA’s advocacy agenda over many years, so we were pleased to welcome the draft yesterday.

While the overall plan is welcomed, we now have an eight-week consultation period to look further into the detail of the draft strategy and provide feedback on behalf of industry.

Overall, infrastructure led planning and development ensures that we are able to deliver major projects in a more coordinated, timely and efficient manner, and that means better outcomes for local communities, housing affordability and the broader economy.

We would also expect that strategic planning for major infrastructure also ensures the State Government can allocate funding in relevant state budgets in a more transparent and accurate way.

A particular area of note that UDIA will seek further clarification on, is the inclusion in the strategy of an urban consolidation action plan and how that integrates with Perth and Peel @3.5 million.

Following the consultation period, a finalised Strategy is anticipated to be provided to the Premier in late-2021 for the Government to consider and respond to before implementation can commence.

Read the draft strategy here.

Read UDIA WA’s media release here.

Investment in Streamline WA

On Wednesday, the McGowan government announced that the September State Budget would include an allocation of $120 million for more than 150 frontline officers across five agencies in a bid to speed up project approvals.

Extra resources have been allocated to the Departments of: Planning, Lands and Heritage; Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS); Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; and Water and Environmental Regulation.

A focus on streamlining approvals is critical to continued economic growth and the delivery of major projects in WA.

NHFIC backs stamp duty reform

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has released a report that supports UDIA’s stance that stamp duty is a barrier to ‘right sizing’.

According to the report, removing stamp duty would increase housing mobility, lead to more efficient use of the nation’s housing stock, and reduce state and territory revenue volatility.

Released on Tuesday, Stamp Duty Reform: Benefits and Challenges draws on the most recent data to assess the benefits and reform considerations when phasing out stamp duty in favour of a broad-based land tax.

Families across all states and territories, except the ACT, are paying substantially more stamp duty when they move house than they were 20 years ago which is hindering mobility and the efficient use of the housing stock, according to the research paper.

The paper also explores how replacing stamp duty with a broad-based land tax in all states and territories would help improve economic efficiency, and that a shorter phase in period could help limit the impact of house price growth on the cost of the transition. The aim of transitioning from stamp duty to land tax is not to increase revenue per se, and the paper demonstrates that the transition can be achieved in a revenue neutral way.

Read more here

UDIA reveals latest economic data

UDIA WA released the June 2021 Urban Intelligence report to members on Friday providing a comprehensive run down on all the latest economic, development and building data relevant to our industry.

The feature article this month focuses on population growth and the importance to ongoing economic growth and alleviating the skills shortage.

Members can read more here.

SPP 2.4 Basic Raw Materials

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage last week announced the adoption of a revised SPP2.4 Basic Raw Materials, setting out a revised set of planning considerations for land containing BRM. The application of the policy has been expanded to cover the entire state and not just the 17 local government areas listed in the previous SPP.

We are pleased that the adopted policy has responded to all of the recommendations set out in UDIA’s submission  and in particular removed reference to decision makers considering ‘risks and off-site impacts’ which lacked clarity in the draft. The adopted policy also amends its focus on protecting defined BRM sites with the use of transitional land uses as opposed to buffers, sterilizing land around extractive industries.

DPLH Industry Stakeholder Reference Group – DAP Reform

On Tuesday, UDIA WA took part in the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage’s Industry Reference Group Meeting to discussion options for Development Assessment Panel (DAP) reform, and more specially reform measures relating to the proposed Special Matters DAP. At the meeting UDIA reiterated the need to ensure that the DAP process continues to align with the original aims and objectives of the DAP pathway by including technical expertise in the planning decision making process to improve decision making. UDIA looks forward to continue to work with DPLH on this and the broader planning reform agenda and will keep members informed of progress.

Lockdowns impact jobs

Payroll jobs fell by 1.0 per cent nationally in the fortnight to 3 July 2021, following a 0.4 per cent rise in the previous fortnight, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The latest fortnight of data overlapped with increased COVID-19 restrictions in most states and territories, including lockdowns in four of the eight capital cities. It also coincided with school holidays in most states and territories.

“Payroll jobs fell in every state and territory in the fortnight to 3 July 2021, with the largest falls seen in states and territories with lockdowns during this period. This ranged from a fall of 1.4 per cent in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, to 1.1 per cent in Western Australia and 1.0 per cent in Queensland.”

“Through the end of June and into early July, people living in capital cities and surrounding urban areas were generally more impacted by payroll job losses than rural and regional areas. This was particularly true in New South Wales, where payroll jobs in Greater Sydney fell by 1.9 per cent, compared with a 0.4 per cent fall in the rest of NSW,” Mr Jarvis said.

“A greater impact was also seen in Greater Brisbane compared with the rest of Queensland, but the impacts were more even in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.”

More here.

Mortgage stress at record lows

New research from Roy Morgan shows an estimated 677,000 mortgage holders (17.3%) were at risk of ‘mortgage stress’ in the three months to May 2021. This period encompassed the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy (end of March 2021), low community transmission of COVID-19 and only a few ‘short and sharp’ lockdowns and border closures to deal with outbreaks.

This level of mortgage stress is down sharply on a year ago when an estimated 794,000 mortgage holders (19.4%) were at risk during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the three months to May 2020.

The low rate of ‘At Risk’ mortgages since the pandemic began reflects the improvement in employment conditions in the first half of 2021 with full-time employment rising for eight straight months, the support provided to the economy by the Federal Government as well as measures taken by banks and financial institutions to support borrowers by giving borrowers in financial distress mortgage ‘holidays’ and record low interest rates during this period.

Read more here.