UDIA meets Assistant Federal Minister for Environment

UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes and UDIA Councillor Darren Walsh met with the Hon Melissa Price MP, the Assistant Minister for the Environment, in Canberra earlier this week along with senior advisors from the Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg’s office and senior officers from the Department of Environment and Energy.

UDIA led discussion on a range of difficulties that our members have been experiencing for over a decade in regard to the application of the Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act) to development proposals in the Perth and Peel Regions.

It had been hoped that the State-Commonwealth Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Region (SAPPR) would provide a means to achieve improved processes, however it appears unlikely that the SAPPR process will provide a solution to the current difficulties in the foreseeable future.

Therefore, UDIA proposed four key actions to resolve this situation, including:

  1. That the listing of banksia woodlands of the swan coastal plain ecological community as an endangered community is rescinded.
  2. That the revised draft Referral guideline for three threatened black cockatoo species are finalised as a priority and include reasonable ‘impact significance levels’ for projects requiring referral.
  3. That the Government progresses the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill as a priority to remove duplication with State environmental legislation, which already applies for land development in the Perth and Peel regions.
  4. That additional experienced resources are provided for the WA Assessments Branch of the Department of Environment and Energy.

UDIA looks forward to furthering these issues in the coming months.

Federal leadership in disarray

As the Federal leadership remains in turmoil, the primary question for WA is whether the deal on GST distribution recently struck with Prime Minister Turnbull will be honoured by his replacement.  Premier Mark McGowan has aired concerns that Peter Dutton would not honour the deal given plans he has floated to scrap GST on electricity bills. The new GST arrangement was to provide WA with a $4.7 billion boost in revenue over eight years.

Peter Dutton along with Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop look set to battle it out in the party room for the leadership tomorrow at high noon.

As a result of the uncertainty, the Australian sharemarket remained on the back-foot and the dollar fell today.

Perth as a City of Villages

UDIA was pleased to welcome Dean Landy, architect and author of ‘Creating Vibrant Communities’, back to WA on Friday to discuss the potential for Perth to grow into a ‘city of villages’, meaning a city of individual precincts and localities that are well connected, yet have their own sense of purpose, identity and ‘personality’ and draw people in to create vibrant, active communities.

Dean said that achieving a city of villages is about looking ‘back to the future’ at how villages in older European and American cities were originally created for walking rather than around the automobile.

This focus on walkability has the potential to create distinct areas such as in New York where well known ‘villages’ like  Chelsea, Soho and Greenwich all have their own distinct character, amenities and local economy, but are connected to the greater whole by quality public transport.

Dean advised there are four key elements in planning for successful village style precincts, including putting people at the centre; creating a sense of place; offering a diversity of housing choices and activities; and incorporating higher density to reduce car use, improve social connectivity and free up more green space for recreation.

Dean’s insightful presentation was followed up by a case study from Andrew Sugiaputra, Managing Director of Golden Group, on their plans for a high density village of up to 4500 apartments at the Belmont Racecourse Redevelopment.

Andrew had some very bold ideas for the project in regard to sustainability and community.  He introduced the concept of ‘after care’ saying that the developers would focus on continued community development and support following the completion of the project from a building perspective.

The key note presentations were followed by a lively panel discussion hosted by UDIA National President Darren Cooper, including details from Paul Blackburne, Managing Director of Blackburne Property Group, on initial plans for the Subiaco Pavillion market site.  Paul was on the panel with new Subiaco Mayor Penny Taylor who said that the City of Subiaco was keen to see progress on the site and that the City is ‘open for business’.

Other panellists included Greg Cash, Assistant Director General Commercial Operations at the Department of Communities; Dean Mudford, CEO, LandCorp; Paige Walker, General Manager Residential Development WA, Mirvac; Anne-Maree Ferguson, Executive Director, Activate Perth; and Col Dutton, General Manger Residential WA, Stockland.

A huge thank you to our event sponsors Parcel Property, Department of Communities, LandCorp, LD Total and Strategen Environmental, along with networking drinks sponsor APD Engineering.

MRA/UDIA Stakeholder Industry Feedback Session

A number of UDIA developer representatives met with selected MRA Board members and management to discuss the MRA’s progress concerning its legislative review and the merger of Landcorp and MRA. A range of issues were discussed, including improving transparency in the decision making process and ensuring that the merged agency has an appropriate suite of delivery mechanisms available to enable effective responses to the specific challenges and opportunities of different development precincts.

UDIA greatly appreciates the opportunity provided by the MRA/Landcorp Board to discuss these issues and looks forward to further engagement with the agency.

Guidance to Assist the Interpretation Waste Definitions

On Monday, UDIA met with representatives from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to discuss amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulations and Landfill Waste Classification and Waste Definitions. DWER is currently preparing advice and fact sheets to provide guidance concerning the assessment of when material is considered waste for the purposes of determining any levies. UDIA supports DWERs efforts to ensure that materials are re-used efficiently and effectively and will keep members informed as DWER’s guidance is made available.

UDIA Professional Development Program now open

Registrations are now open for the October 2018 intake of the UDIA Professional Development Program.  This highly regarded program is tailored directly to property industry professionals and provides participants with an excellent breadth of knowledge required to operate effectively in our local residential development industry.

The program is also aligned to the Diploma of Project Management delivered by Swinburne University of Technology. This means that upon completion of the full six-day course, participants may submit their portfolios of evidence and apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), to be awarded the Diploma of Project Management delivered by Swinburne.

More details can be found here.

Are you a WA development industry professional under the age of 35years?

UDIA WA is committed to fostering the next generation of development industry professionals. The Outlook program has been running since 2002, making it one of the most established and well respected forums for promoting information and networking to those in industry under 35 years of age.

With an annual award for the Young Development Professional of the Year, four main events plus numerous other free of charge workshops and information sessions across the year, Outlook is your one stop shop for the necessary professional development, networking and information to help you build your career.

To ensure you remain connected and up to date with the latest Outlook initiatives, please email membership@udiawa.com.au with your details, and we will ensure you are placed on the dedicated Outlook mailing list.

Don’t forget to also like and follow the Outlook Showcase Page here.

The Property Education Foundation joins UDIA (WA)

We are pleased to announce that the Property Education Foundation is now the official Education Partner of the UDIA (WA). The partnership will further enhance the influence of the Foundation in its quest to promote and support property education and training of property students.

The interactions between students and the property industry will enable students to gain property skills and develop job readiness. In addition to continuing to provide scholarships and internships, PEF will be working with UDIA to connect students with the industry through networking events, information forums and site visits.

To stay connected with the Foundation and take advantage of these new opportunities, visit the website www.pef.org.au or contact secretariat@pef.org.au.

AWA awards program

Every year the Australian Water Association (AWA) recognises the significant contribution of it’s members and the community (Nationally and here in WA) through it’s annual awards program.

The awards recognise innovation and excellence in delivery of professionals, projects and programs in the water (and water related) industry and they are looking for nominations for the WA 2018 awards program, with a number of category winners entered into the national awards program.

Water is an integral element of urban development projects from infrastructure and supply considerations to environmental protection.  With categories including ‘Infrastructure innovation’ and ‘Water Sensitive Urban Design’ there are sure to be some projects and individuals that will stand out and be worthy of recognition.

You can check out all of the categories and criteria at the AWA website here . Please note that the Innovating for Sustainable Water outcomes and Student Water prize categories are open to non-AWA members (subject to detailed criteria).

Nominations close on Friday 31st August 2018 so get your applications and attend the AWA annual awards dinner on Friday October 26th at Pan Pacific hotel to celebrate all of the achievements here in WA.

Positive change is happening on the water front

Positive change is happening in urban water management. 360 Environmental‘s new Principal Hydrologist, Kelly Lavell has experienced this change most recently during her time at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. This positive change in government is good news for land developers wanting to innovatively solve water management problems. With her return to consulting Kelly is bringing this understanding of governmental change to the land development industry.

There has been a noticeable shift in the culture and priorities of our decision makers and regulators in water management and land development in Western Australia. Priority is being given to transition Perth into a water sensitive city of the future and this is being implemented by government at the state and local level and is having a noticeable impact on the way we do business in urban water management in the land development sector.  Government is now far more open to innovative problem solving than was previously the case and is working willingly across agencies to solve long standing water management issues

While there has been an increase in the levels of collaboration and sharing of knowledge, Kelly would like to see greater flexibility and improved policy, particularly in the areas of water use efficiency and developing fit-for- purpose water sources to ensure all aspects of water including environmental, economic, social and political is addressed on a case by case basis for all forms of land development.

360 Environmental provide strategic input to developers and authorities on integrated water management solutions as well as the full spectra of environmental investigations required for the land development sector. If you have a development requiring water or environmental advice and approvals or would simply like to get back in touch with Kelly, please contact her or on 9388 8360 or kellylavell@360environmental.com.au

Warning from RBA – plan for rate rises

In the minutes from their 7 August meeting, the RBA noted that housing market conditions continued to ease, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.  It was also noted that rental vacancies remained high in Perth, but were lower than the peak in the previous year.

Despite the easing of conditions in the established housing market, dwelling investment was expected to remain at a high level, but not to contribute to growth, over coming quarters.

The board discussed housing credit growth, which has continued to ease over the first half of 2018, driven by a decline in credit growth for investors, mainly due to softening demand from investors in an environment of declining housing prices in some markets, although it was likely that there had also been some reduction in the supply of credit associated with tighter lending standards.

Interestingly, in a speech to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) on Tuesday, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said that interest rates would inevitably rise and home owners should make appropriate financial decisions.

He urged people to shop around and “don’t be shy to ask for a better deal; whether for your mortgage, your electricity contract or your phone plan. There are very good deals out there if you look. We can all play a role in making our markets more competitive by being smart and informed in our choices.”

Find the full minutes here.

Philip Lowe’s speech to ASIC here.

Construction activity down across WA

The total value of construction work in Australia rose by 1.6% during the June 2018 quarter to $53,588.1m and building work in particular rose 2.5% to $29,854.9m.

In Western Australia the picture is slightly less rosy, with total construction work declining 1.4% and the value of building work down 3.2% (seasonally adjusted).

More details here.