UDIA meets with Treasury and also Landgate to discuss building stimulus impacts

This week UDIA WA held separate meetings with representatives from WA Treasury and Landgate to discuss the implementation of the Federal and State building stimulus packages and possible measures to mitigate the risks associated with the high level of demand for lots.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity provided by both government agencies to discuss industry issues and challenges and also acknowledges their commitment to working collaboratively to mitigate risks associated with the building stimulus measures.

UDIA will keep members informed as further advice becomes available.

More seamless environmental approvals within reach

Major reforms to streamline environmental approvals are within reach following the interim release of the Commonwealth Government’s independent review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

The review – led by Professor Graeme Samuel – was commissioned late last year and follows sustained advocacy by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

UDIA has made streamlining environmental planning practices a front line national policy and advocacy goal – twice meeting Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Prof. Samuels in the past year, as well as lodging a substantial submission to the review.

We have consistently argued the EPBC Act is inconsistent, complex and often acts as a barrier to residential land release and housing, as well as delivering sub-optimal conservation outcomes.

The review recognises ‘the Act is ineffective’, too many decisions are made on a ‘project-by-project basis’ , and that it is largely true that ‘it duplicates state and territory regulatory frameworks for development assessment and approval’.

The review’s recommendations include:

  • National Environmental Standards should anchor the new framework to provide clear benchmarks for defining and achieving environmental outcomes
  • The Standards should set clear rules for decision-making to reduce discretion as well as provide clear and consistent rules for project proponents
  • Allow for greater delegation to the states to carry out assessments and approvals on the Commonwealth’s behalf, subject to an accreditation regime
  • National and regional (landscape) scale planning would benefit the system by managing threats at the right scale and to set clear rules to facilitate and manage competing land uses
  • Having clear, legally enforceable rules via National Environmental Standards will allow for greater harmonisation with the states and territories and reduce duplication
  • The Act should be reformed in the short-term to remove known inconsistencies, gaps and conflicts – with a comprehensive rewrite of the Act the ultimate goal
  • The Commonwealth needs to overhaul its own referral processes

In further good news, the Commonwealth has responded to the report with a commitment to move on some of its signature elements. Environment Minister Sussan Ley has said they will include:

  • Develop Commonwealth-led National Environmental Standards to underpin new bilateral agreements with the states, and
  • Commence discussions with willing states to enter agreements for ‘single touch’ assessments (removing duplication by accrediting states to carry out assessments and approvals on the Commonwealth’s behalf)
  • Explore market-based solutions for better habitat restoration that will improve environmental outcomes while providing greater certainty for business

The reforms sit neatly within the Government’s deregulation and red tape agenda to help drive economic recovery, investment and major projects and UDIA will continue to engage with the Commonwealth on the reform agenda to ensure the EPBC Act finally lives up to its promise and removes the substantial compliance burden placed on projects.

A second round of consultation and workshops will be held with stakeholder groups – including UDIA National – ahead of the release of Prof. Samuel’s final report in October.

We have also previously written to the Commonwealth seeking to be involved in the development of the new standards to ensure they reflect industry priorities.

Meanwhile, UDIA’s COVID-19 recovery advocacy plan – Helping Australia Bounce Back’ – also makes the case for clear and strict deadlines to assess existing housing projects caught in the system.

These will help unlock investment and fuel the pipeline of development projects needed in the short- and medium-term to sustain economic activity, jobs and wages.

UDIA & HIA working together on stimulus challenges

HIA and UDIA convened their second joint meeting earlier this week to work through some of the unintended consequences of the success of the HomeBuilder and Building Bonus stimulus programs.

Whilst demand has tapered off somewhat since the initial frenzy in the first couple of weeks since the schemes were announced, the impacts of the sudden and sharp increase in demand are being felt across the land development and housing construction supply chain.

Both organisations are advocating for an adjustment to the criteria to ‘flatten the curve’ from a delivery perspective to ensure that industry can deliver on consumer demand and still achieve the job creation objectives of both schemes.

UDIA Environment Committee and Infrastructure Committee meetings held in person again

The fourth round of UDIA’s 2020-21 Policy Committee’s commenced this week with meetings for both the Environment and Infrastructure Committees.

Whilst much of the focus of both committees was addressing the risks associated with the building stimulus, recycling also featured heavily with Development WA providing a presentation on the demolition and reuse of materials from the Subiaco Stadium demolition and Hamilton Senior High School redevelopment projects to the Environment Committee.

Similarly, Stockland provided a presentation to the Infrastructure Committee on the use of recycled asphalt at Whiteman Edge.

UDIA meet with DPLH to discuss draft SPP2.9 Planning for Water

Representatives of UDIA’s Urban Water Committee meet with the Department of Planning, Heritage and Lands to discuss the draft SPP2.9 Planning for Water.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity to discuss the draft SPP and the Departments commitment to ensuring that the policy framework governing water is contemporary and delivers efficient and effective outcomes.

Changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker announced along with record debt

Earlier this week the Federal Government announced key changes to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker stimulus packages along with extensions to both incentives.

As part of the announced changes JobKeeper will be extended for 6 months but the level of support will be reduced from $1500 a fortnight for eligible employees to $1200 a fortnight for full time employees and $750 for employees who are working 20 hours per week or less for the December Quarter. The payments will be further reduced for the March Quarter with the full-time payment set at $1000 per fortnight and $650 per fortnight for part time employees.

The JobSeeker Covid Supplement will be reduced to $250 extra per fortnight and has been extended until the end of the year.

In addition to these proposed changes, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed the initial impacts on the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the mini budget released earlier today.

One of the key takeaways from this mini budget is that the unemployment rate across the country is set to peak at 9.25% in December and will remain at 8.75% over the 2020-21 financial year.

Mr Frydenberg revealed there will be an $85.8 billion deficit for 2019-20, a far cry off from the $5 billion surplus predicted before the pandemic. The 2020-21 Financial Year is forecast to see a $184.5 billion deficit.

Chance to be included in next edition of The Urbanist

UDIA WA are in the process of compiling content for the third edition of our 48-page industry magazine The Urbanist and we are on the hunt for innovative projects to be showcased in the edition.

The third edition, due out in September, will focus on innovation by showcasing some of the exciting initiatives and projects that are progressing within the development industry.

As part of this, one of the articles is looking at how the use of technology is assisting developers to reach out to consumers and encourage sales. If you believe your project is using particularly noteworthy technology or initiatives to assist consumers, then we want to hear from you.

We are also on the hunt for projects or developments particularly focused on progressing and enhancing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular that of SDG Goal 9. The UN SDGs were adopted in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. UN SDG 9 looks at Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

If you think your project fits either of the above categories or if you have an innovative project that you would like considered, please get in touch with the UDIA WA communications team at gosiejak@udiawa.com.au.

AGM information released

Last week UDIA WA provided notice to Key Representatives from our Member organisations that that our Annual General Meeting will be held on 14 October, 2020 at 2:30pm at the UDIA WA Office.

As part of the announcement we provided an agenda which can be viewed here and a copy of the 2019 AGM minutes is available on the Members Only section of the UDIA WA website, here.

In accordance with the UDIA WA constitution, four member positions on Council have been declared vacant and are now open for nominations. Only a member or member’s representative of an eligible member organisation can nominate for a position on the UDIA WA Council.

Should you wish to nominate for a Councillor position on the UDIA WA Council, your nomination must be returned to UDIA WA in accordance with the timeline and instructions on the form which can be downloaded here.

Calls for submissions to next EnviroDevelopment newsletter

Last month the first edition of the National UDIA EnviroDevelopment (ED) Newsletter was released, showcasing some of the exciting ED projects from around the country.

Following the successful release, the EnviroDevelopment team are now on the hunt for projects to feature in the second edition due out later this year.

If you have an EnviroDevelopment certified project that you think should be showcased in the next edition or to find out more information, get in touch with National EnviroDevelopment Manager Taylor Hood on thood@udiaqld.com.au.

Last chance to register for UDIA’s first Industry Breakfast

Time is running out for those wishing to attend our first in-person Industry Breakfast since the start of the pandemic.  This is set to be a fantastic event featuring big names including Minister for Housing Peter Tinley.

The expert panel will delve into the impact of market stimulus measures, infrastructure investment and red tape reduction. Analysing what the impact has been thus far on jobs and our economy, and what other opportunities are there for a sustained recovery.

Facilitated by UDIA WA Councillor, Anthony Rowbottam of Lendlease with insights from; Hon Peter Tinley MLA – Minister for Housing; Fisheries; Veterans Issues; Asian Engagement; John Langoulant – Chair, Infrastructure WA; David Caddy – Chair, Western Australian Planning Commission and Philip Helberg – newly appointed CEO, Infrastructure WA.

Registrations close tomorrow Friday 24 July get in quickly! Click here for more information.

Our thanks to event sponsors DevelopmentWA and Harley Dykstra

EnviroDevelopment certified project unlocks opportunities

The Rockingham Industry Zone, which was the first industrial estate in WA, the largest in Australia and one of only three nationwide to achieve UDIA EnviroDevelopment certification is set to unlock a further 73.5 hectares of strategically located industrial land following the opening of a new road.

The new road – Alloy Avenue – will open up three land parcels zoned as strategic industrial, providing new opportunities for businesses to get established in downstream processing and other heavy activities within the Western Trade Coast.

Alloy Avenue includes a new four-way signalled intersection to make it safer and quicker for heavy traffic vehicles, including prime movers, semi-trailers and b-triples, to move within the estate.

In the nearby Clipper Precinct, nine fully serviced general industrial lots have today also been released for pre-sale.

The lots, ranging in size from 4,399sqm up to 2.6ha, will be connected to power, water and sewerage. The lots are priced from $846,808 excluding GST.

The new land release will see the creation of 165 new jobs through the land development and construction phase, and a further 310 ongoing jobs once fully established. It is expected to deliver an economic output of $114 million each year.

Located less than 40 minutes south of the Perth CBD and within the Western Trade Coast, the 1,150ha Rockingham Industry Zone caters for a wide range of businesses including warehousing, transport and logistics, petroleum, defence and maritime-related industries.

Businesses already located within the estate include BHP Nickel West, Coogee Chemicals, Doral, Mintech, Coleman Transport and Milne Feeds.

For more information, visit here and to read the exclusive feature article on the Rockingham Industry Zone in the latest edition of The Urbanist, click here.

Audit provides key recommendations

Last month the National Auditor General Report on Referrals, Assessments and Approvals of Controlled Actions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 was released which provided 8 recommendations to the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment’.

The audit was conducted as previous ANAO audits have identified shortcomings in the department’s administration of regulation under the EPBC Act in relation to the timeliness, consistency and effectiveness of regulatory actions. According to the report, all 8 recommendations were agreed by the department.

For more information, click here.

New Report highlights travel times

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has released the Australian Travel Time Metric 2020 Edition, which highlights key findings about the travel times of Australians.

The latest edition of the report, developed using Uber’s anonymised ride share data, shows peak travel times across Australia’s four largest cities have not increased over the past four years. This is despite populations and demand for the roads in these cities growing substantially over this time.

Of particular note for WA commuters, Perth recorded the fastest overall morning commute, at under 13 minutes and over the four years leading up to 2020, the delay in travelling from Perth’s CBD to Airport decreased by 42 per cent – the biggest drop for any airport corridor.

For more information and to read the report in full, click here

Local government planner to retire this month

UDIA WA would like to pass our best wishes on to Steven (EK) Tan who, at the end of the month, will be retiring following 48 years in local government.

For the past 16 years Steven has been with the City of Swan and in the last eight years been holding the position of Executive Manager of Planning & Development and his presence will undoubtedly be missed.

Throughout his time in Local Government Steven has been a strong supporter on many projects and given the right information he has helped a number of UDIA members to deliver excellent developments.

June unemployment figures make for grim reading

According to the latest Labour Force statistics from the ABS, Australia’s seasonally adjusted estimate of employment increased by 210,800 people in June 2020 however this figure includes the number of unemployed people increasing by 69,300 people.

During the month the unemployment rate increasing 0.4 percentage points (pts) to 7.4%, however the underemployment rate decreased by 1.4 pts to 11.7% and the underutilisation rate decreased by 1.0 pts to 19.1%. On the plus side the participation rate increased 1.3 pts to 64.0%; and the employment to population ratio increasing 1.0 pts to 59.2%.

The increase of 210,8000 people between May and June 2020 represented a 1.7% rise and was made up of an increase of 249,000 part time employees but a decrease of 38,100 full time employees.

Compared to a year ago, there were 306,800 less people employed full-time and 215,500 less people employed part-time. This change led to a decrease in the part-time share of employment over the past 12 months, from 31.6% to 31.1%.

In original numbers, during the month of June nationally:

  • Total employed persons increased 1.52% MOM (-4.06% YOY)
  • The employment to population ratio increased 1.47% MOM (-5.30% YOY)
  • The total number of unemployed people increased 6.66% MOM (+39.64% YOY)
  • The unemployment rate increased 30bps to 7.2% (+4.70% MOM, +42.24% YOY)
  • The underemployment ratio (proportion of employed persons) decreased 140bps to 12.5% (-10.06% MOM, +45.47% YOY)

In original numbers, during the month of June in Western Australia:

  • Total employed persons increased 1.38% MOM (-4.88% YOY)
  • The employment to population ratio increased 1.34% MOM (-5.98% YOY)
  • The total number of unemployed people increased 4.71% MOM (+48.19% YOY)
  • The unemployment rate increased 20bps to 8.0% (+3.02% MOM, +51.33% YOY)
  • The underemployment ratio (proportion of employed persons) decreased 90bps to 12.0% (-7.04% MOM, +15.94% YOY)

UDIA requests for feedback

UDIA is working on submissions and responses in relation to the following.  Members are encouraged to provide feedback and comments to inform our submissions to policy@udiawa.com.au by the specified dates below:

A Stronger Tomorrow State Infrastructure Strategy Discussion paper (here), closes Friday 21 August. Please provide feedback to UDIA no later than Friday 7 August.

The R-Codes Interim COVID-19 Review (here), closes September 10th. Please provide feeback to UDIA no later than Thursday 27 August.

Building and Energy has released a consultation paper proposing changes to the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 to allow for the registration of building engineers and to introduce a code of conduct for engineers. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 3 December 2020. Download the consultation paper here for details of the proposals and to have your say. Please provide feedback to UDIA no later than Thursday 19 November.

State Budget Submission

Following its deferral due to COVID-19, the WA State Budget will be handed down on October 8th, 2020 and UDIA WA will be providing a submission to government in the coming weeks outlining our suggested priorities.

Our submission will cover a range of issues linked to economic growth and market recovery in the wake of COVID-19 including tax reform, population growth, infrastructure planning and provision, affordable housing, environmental assessment and planning reform.

We welcome members feedback on any issues you believe we should be addressing in our submission by COB tomorrow Friday 24 July 2020.

UDIA supports upcoming SHIFT Cooperative Innovation DigiConference

UDIA WA is pleased to support the upcoming DigiConference organised by Town Teams.

If you missed the inimitable David Engwicht at our State Conference in February, here is your chance to hear from the man himself, as he provides the keynote address along with a range of other thought-provoking speakers from around the country.

Exploring topics including recovery after crisis, helping retailers post-COVID, placemaking and place-branding, this conference is not to be missed.

Find out more and purchase tickets here.

While this conference is online, the after party is not!  Join fellow Perth delegates at The Rooftop at The Rechabite from 4pm – 6pm on the day of the conference to meet face to face and discuss what you have learned.

Covid-19 and homelessness

Shelter WA is hosting a free event to discuss sector, community and government perpecitves on the impact of Covid-19 on homelessness.  The event will be held on Monday 3rd August from 9:30am to 1:00pm.

Featuring an overview of the homelessness taskforce, scenario planning and what this means for the Homelessness strategy and services will be provided by the Department of Communities.

Professor David Gilchrist from UWA will facilitate a panel discussion between taskforce members, government and industry will reflect on the current and projected impact of COVID on the community, what they are seeing on the ground and what this means for service provision moving forward

More information and to register click here.