UDIA WA to issue updated Industry Pulse survey

UDIA WA is committed to keeping up to date with how the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions are impacting on our members and the broader industry.  To that end, we will be issuing a second ‘Industry Pulse Survey’ to our key representatives tomorrow.

This follow up from the survey that we undertook with members a few weeks ago, will provide us with useful information and comparative data on how organisations and the general market are being impacted, how businesses are responding and where our continued advocacy work should focus in order to provide the most effective support.

To advance our advocacy to government concerning the challenges facing the sector, collating a more detailed understanding of job losses within the development industry and the potential for further job losses will also be critical.

If you are a key representative, please look out for the survey in your inbox tomorrow. We appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to respond.  Results from the previous survey are available on our website here and we will update this page with the latest results next week.

Changes to Development Assessment Panels 

On Wednesday, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti announced changes to Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) that will reduce the number of panels from nine down to five.

Selected specialist members have been reappointed as part of the restructure.

While UDIA WA is supportive of moves to streamline the DAPs system as part of the broader Planning Reform agenda, we are keen to see further detail on the transition plan for projects already in the system.

The new five-panel configuration includes the following:

  • City of Perth;
  • Metro Inner-North;
  • Metro Inner-South;
  • Metro Outer; and
  • Regional.

The Minister advised that new boundaries, which will take effect from April 27, 2020, will not impact the role of local government membership with measures being put in place to ensure continuity of local representation and management of existing applications.

This is another step in reducing and streamlining the DAPs system, with the ultimate goal under the planning reform agenda being that we will have just three panels.

UDIA WA believes that the DAP system is integral to ensuring we have a fair and consistent decision-making process.  However, it is critical that the system is as efficient and transparent as possible to ensure a streamlined approvals process.

UDIA WA has been strongly advocating directly to government for the continued streamlining of the planning system to ensure industry capacity is maintained to provide the homes, commercial and industrial land needed to support economic growth once the COVID-19 crisis abates.

UDIA WA is also recommending the following short-term actions in relation to streamlining the planning system:

  • Allow DA’s to be placed on hold and adopt streamlined procedures to extend development and environmental approvals that would otherwise expire as a result of COVID-19;
  • Enforce clear statutory timeframes for referral agencies;
  • Adopt full electronic lodgement of all applications and processes;
  • Establish an online, streamlined advertising/consultation processes; and
  • Finalise omnibus amendment to regulations, which includes a process for simplified structure plan amendments.

For more information, click here.

UDIA Online PD course enrolments open

UDIA is pleased to partner with McMillan to offer members an online course in project management that specializes in property development.

The course commences on Tuesday 9 June and runs for 18 weeks and enrolments for this course are now open.

The Certificate IV in Project Management (Specialising in Property Development) is the only nationally-recognised qualification of its kind that teaches the project management competencies unique to the property development industry.

The qualification is delivered and issued by partnering Registered Training Organisation – McMillan (RTO No. 88187). The online course teaches the critical skills of project management such as identifying project scope, contract negotiation, team engagement, stakeholder communication and managing time, cost and quality.

For more information, click here.

UDIA WA launches new webinar

UDIA WA has launched the second webinar in our new online series.  The new webinar will feature property expert and Research4 Director Colin Keane who will be leading a Greenfields Development Masterclass. Many members will remember Colin from our very popular annual market update luncheons held in previous years.

During the hour-long session Colin will showcase how the traditional land development market will fare over the next 12 months before opening up the discussion to a Q and A session that will give participants the opportunity to have their most burning questions about the land development market answered.

This will be a must attend webinar for anyone interested in what may lie ahead for the land development market in the coming months.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.

Planning Ministers commit to keeping approvals running

Earlier this week Planning Ministers from every State and Territory, the President of the Australian Local Government Association and Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure agreed upon a set of principles on how the planning systems should operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The principles are designed to ensure development applications can still be approved at their usual pace and other planning regulations amended to deal with the twin health and economic crises. Changes will be made on a State by State basis, using the agreed principles to provide confidence in the planning systems throughout the current situation.

Ministers agreed to review the principles in June 2020 to ensure they are still fit-for-purpose to support the economic recovery phase.

UDIA is supportive of this announcement as ensuring building and construction activity can continue to operate at as close to normal levels as possible will ensure the economic slow-down is not as severe, and we can more quickly bounce back.

Support package for construction workforce announced

Earlier today a $24.5 million support package to assist the building and construction industry in maintaining a skilled workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic was announced by the State Government.

The package includes $10 million to provide an immediate, one-off payment of $2,000 to employers of existing apprentices and trainees currently receiving Construction Training Fund (CTF) grant payments.

A new grants scheme worth $9.5 million will be introduced to assist employers to retain their existing apprentices, with payments beginning from June 1, 2020 backdated from April 1, 2020.

The payments will range from $250 per month to $500 per month, per apprentice or trainee, depending on the trades facing the most critical skills shortages in the industry.

Apprentices and trainees employed in the industry can claim up to $1,000 to support the costs of undertaking short courses to assist them in upskilling.

For more information see here.

Grattan Institute estimates employment shock

Younger Australians, women and lower income earners are likely to be hit hardest by the economic slowdown from COVID-19 according to a new report from The Grattan Institute.

The report released earlier this week estimated that between 14 and 26 per cent of Australian workers could be out of work as a direct result of the coronavirus shutdown with the crisis having an enduring impact on jobs and the economy for years to come.

According to the report, if its estimates are even close to accurate this will be the worst or one of the worst economic downturns in Australia’s history with the potential for a ‘second wave’ to hit the economy even after the immediate health threat crisis.

The report predicts Australia’s unemployment rate will rise to between 10 and 15 per cent. The latter figure would be the highest since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The report finishes by commending the various governments across the country for spending record amounts trying to cushion Australian workers and businesses from the worst impacts of this unprecedented crisis. But the working paper shows that the economic shock from COVID-19 is going to be so big that more support will be needed.

For more information, click here.

Eviction moratoriums and code of conduct pass parliament

A six-month moratorium on residential tenancy and certain commercial tenancy evictions as well as new laws to establish a mandatory code of conduct to assist with negotiations between landlords and tenants have now passed the WA Parliament.

The state government says the aim of the legislation is to help small commercial tenants that are now in financial distress to survive the current economic downturn.

In addition to the eviction moratoriums, other elements of the new laws include but are not limited to a freeze on rent increases during the period and a restriction on penalties for tenants who do not trade or reduce their trading hours.

A code of conduct will also be developed based on the National Cabinet Code of Conduct to provide a framework for negotiations to be carried out in good faith between landlords and tenants to agree on rent relief measures.

The laws that will come into effect this week allow for the emergency moratorium period to be varied by regulation if required.

For more information regarding residential tenancies, click here and for information regarding the commercial tenancies, click here.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation update

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER, the department) has published updates to its application forms for applying for clearing permits, works approvals, and licences under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act).

Links to the new application forms can be accessed via the One Stop Shop hub page on the department’s website.

These updated forms link to the improved Index for Biodiversity Surveys for Assessment (IBSA) submission system and the new Index for Marine Surveys for Assessment (IMSA), which are now in use.

Should you have any queries or require additional information, please contact the department via email to info@dwer.wa.gov.au or on (08) 6364 7000.

New passive irrigation guidelines to cool our cities

CRC for Water Sensitive Cities have released new guidelines to provide high level advice on how practitioners can design these landscapes to integrate with different streetscapes and settings.

This new resource introduces passive irrigation landscapes—what they are and why they benefit Australian urban environments. The guidelines also look at key considerations for construction and maintenance.

The resource is in two parts: the guidelines (Part A), and climatic zone sizing guides for passively irrigated trees (Part B). Part A helps users to include passively irrigated landscape features in the urban design process and navigate projects from early identification to concept design. Part B gives extra information on the soil moisture modelling of tree pits and provides tree pit sizing guides for areas across Australia where this modelling was undertaken.

The guidelines, drawing on CRCWSC research and prepared by CRCWSC partner E2DesignLab, aim to:

  • increase industry awareness of passively irrigated systems
  • identify opportunities for incorporating passively irrigated landscapes
  • increase industry capacity to deliver these systems successfully

Landscape architects, urban designers and planners, water sensitive urban design (WSUD) specialists, civil engineers, road designers and local government authorities will find the guidelines useful.

For more information, click here.

East Perth Power Station transformation a step closer

Australian Capital Equity and the Minderoo Group have been jointly named as the preferred proponents to deliver the long-awaited revitalisation of the iconic East Perth Power Station.

With an expected Stage 1 investment of $218 million over the next four years, the former industrial site will be redeveloped to accommodate a mix of new residential, commercial, recreational and tourism opportunities.

The site is within walking distance of the East Perth train station and presents new housing opportunities with access to both public transport and the Swan River.

The project is expected to support 1,900 construction jobs and more than 1,300 operational jobs going forward.

In recognition of the cultural significance of the location for Whadjuk Noongar people, the development will be given a Noongar name – Koomba Kalark. This translates to ‘the place of the big fire’, a reference to the former power station.

For more information about the project, click here.

NorthLink now fully open

Earlier today the State Government announced that NorthLink WA is now fully open, providing an improved link between Morley and Muchea.

It is hoped that the opening of the new road will reduce travel times and the amount of heavy vehicle traffic on the Great Northern Highway through the Swan Valley tourism region.

For more information, click here.

Owner Occupier Finance commitments up in February

In February the total number of owner-occupier housing commitments (excluding refinancing) was 2839 representing an increase of 3.7% MOM.

This total consisted of 446 for the construction of dwellings, a 1.1% increase MOM and up 6.7% YOY; 187 for the purchase of newly erected dwellings which was 18.7% down MOM but 31.7% up YOY); 1878 for the purchase of existing dwellings a 4.7% positive increase compared with the previous month but 1.3% down compared with the same time last year; 196 for the purchase of residential land an 8.3% increase on last month and 132 for alterations, additions and repairs.

The total value of commitments (excluding refinancing) was $1.1 billion, an increase of 4.2% MOM and 15.9% YOY.

This total consisted of $178.9 million in commitments for the construction of dwellings which although was 1.7% down MOM, represented a 21% increase YOY; $69.4 million for the purchase of newly erected dwellings 23.7% down MOM but 32.4% up YOY; $780.1 million for the purchase of existing dwellings 7.8% down MOM and 13% up YOY); $58.4 million for residential land purchase commitments, which was 8.15% up MOM); and $17 million for housing alterations, additions and repairs.

FHB Finance Commitments and applications on the rise in February

According to the latest ABS stats February saw the number of WA FHB housing commitments rise 1161 4.2% on the month before and an 8% increase YOY.

The value of WA FHB housing commitments was $412 million – an increase of 7.3% MOM and 20% YOY. Comparatively this represents 13.6% of the 8526 FHB housing commitments made nationally, with a total combined value of $3.5 billion.

According to stats from the WA Treasury the number of FHOG applications for new dwellings was 491 representing a 4.7% increase MOM and 13.1% increase YOY. The number of FHOG applications used to purchase new dwellings was 429 (-1.6% MOM, +5.1% YOY), above the three-month rolling average of 405.

Increases for Investor Dwelling Finance

In February the total value of new loan commitments made by investors for the purchase of residential land was $13.8 million representing a 22.2% increase MOM.

New loan commitments made by investors for the construction of dwellings was $21.3 million (-17.5% MOM); with commitments made for the purchase of newly erected dwellings sitting at $11.4 million (-31.5% MOM). The value of commitments made for the purchase of existing dwellings was $171.6 million representing a 12.6% increase MOM.

Building approvals and values up before COVID-19

For the month of February building approvals were up across the board MOM with an 18.6% increase in dwelling approvals (WA), a 13.9% increase in private sector house approvals (WA), an 11.4% increase in greater Perth house approvals, and a 65.7% increase in greater Perth multi-unit approvals.

YOY saw a mixed bag with a 12.1% decrease in dwelling approvals (WA), a 0.4% decrease in private sector house approvals (WA), 3.2% increase in greater Perth house approvals and significant 42.6% decrease in greater Perth multi-unit approvals.

In February the value of WA building jobs (private sector houses) increased 16.5% MOM and 8.2% YOY to $2.84 billion. The total value of WA building jobs was $3.87 billion, comprised of $3.48 billion for total residential (+23.9% MOM, -8.8% YOY), and $38.7 million for residential alterations and conversions (+1.2% MOM, -11.4% YOY). This represents an overall increase of 21.2% MOM and decrease of 9.1% YOY.

New weekly statistics resemble start of COVID-19 impacts

This week saw the start of a new ABS statistic that will monitor the weekly payroll, jobs and wages figures as a result of the COVID-19 impacts.

For the week ending April 4, WA construction employee jobs were down 4.3% since 100th reported case of COVID-19 on 14th March with total construction employee wages down 3% in the same period. Comparatively, Australian construction employee jobs are down 5.3%, with a 3.6% reduction in total construction employee wages for the same period.

New dwelling commencements slightly down but completions slightly up in December

For the December quarter there were 2585 dwelling unit commencements in WA (new private sector houses) out of a total of 3116, representing a 6% reduction QOQ and 8.8% reduction YOY.

During the same period there were 2752 dwelling units completed in WA (new private sector houses) out of a total of 4251, representing a 20.9% increase QOQ and 16% reduction YOY.

March unemployment rate better than expected

March saw the national unemployment rate remain constant at 5.2% with the WA unemployment rate increasing just 0.3% MOM to sit at 5.9%.

The total number of employed persons in WA sat at 1.37 million (-0.8% MOM, +1.9% YOY). National underemployment increased 0.1% to sit at 8.7% while in WA the underemployment ratio (proportion of employed) increased 0.9% MOM and 0.8% YOY to sit at 10.1% (138,370 persons).

While these figures are relatively stable, next month is likely to represent the greater impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Index of Biodiversity surveys for assessments-IBSA Submissions

On Monday 30 March 2020 the Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments (IBSA) Submissions portal was released.

The key objective of the initiative is to automate the submission of data packages for biodiversity data from land-based field surveys that support assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, undertaken by Department of Water and Energy Regulation (DWER), the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Under this initiative, DWER, EPA and DMIRS will require electronic data to be submitted through the online IBSA Submissions portal. The requirement will apply to submission of IBSA data packages.

IBSA Submissions will deliver more efficiencies for proponents and assessment officers and improve the quality of data incorporated into IBSA.

A series of targeted familiarisation sessions will also be held in April directed toward key representative groups whose members may interact with IBSA for the submission of data.

More information on IBSA Submissions can be found here.

Expanding Reuse Opportunities for Recycled C&D Materials – Industry Survey

UDIA WA is supporting an industry research and engagement project being undertaken by ActiveSustainability in collaboration with Foundations Research and Murdoch University on expanding reuse opportunities for recycled C&D materials.

The project is made possible through Waste Authority funding which supports projects that contribute to the waste strategy’s objectives and targets.

Currently the reuse of waste-derived products provides cost effective and environmental solutions for some WA developers, builders and contractors, however there remains excess supply of these materials that are suitable for use in many additional WA projects.

This project is focused on understanding and addressing industry concerns and impediments for the reuse of recycled construction materials in development projects.

As part of the engagement process, ActiveSustainability is requesting industry feedback to inform its research.

The information gathered through these surveys will provide valuable information and help identify opportunities for further development of C&D waste markets, all of which will be incorporated in the final project report and made available to all stakeholders.


All individual responses will be aggregated. Anonymity and full confidentiality of individual responses will be maintained.

To complete the survey, click 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

  • Public Comment on Infill Typologies
    • CRCWSC Infill Typologies Catalogue for informing better infill design is now available for public comment (here).
  • Waste Reform consultation papers (here). Submissions close 15 July 2020:
    • Closing the loop: Waste reforms for a circular economy
    • Review of the waste levy

Need Fill? Surplus sand available

In the process of constructing the Roe Highway/Kalamunda Road grade separation project, Georgiou have obtained a large amount of surplus fill material, which would be ideal for consultants, planners, developers and other stakeholders that may have a use for this material for their projects.

The fill material can be obtained by getting in touch with Georgiou direct who can provide more information about the specific details. Depending on yours and the project’s requirements (timing, quality and the amount required), the fill may be free of charge or a fee may apply.

For further information or to make an enquiry about the fill material, contact Jason Fletcher on jason.fletcher@georgiou.com.au.