From the CEO

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”

There has been no shortage of tough problems to deal with as an industry, a collective government and as a society. As your industry body, we are acutely focused on how we can make a meaningful impact to ensure we aren’t dealing with the same problems in a year’s time.

With bold and necessary decisions now made by the State Government, albeit a little late in the piece on both Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Medium Density – we will continue to ensure that we are not dealing with the unintended consequences of these poorly executed policies in 12 months time. We continue to prioritise solutions to the challenges you are experiencing with assessment, approvals and clearances with both Western Power and from an environmental perspective.

Addressing the friction points in the development ready pipeline requires a forward thinking, strategic approach to address not only the current blockages but the ones that can be foreseen and resolved in advance. Provision of lead infrastructure to unlock housing supply, simplifying not complicating approvals processes and attracting the skilled workforce required not only in the private sector but the public sector are all fundamental to our future success.

We know we can’t do it alone. This week, I joined my industry colleagues Cath Hart from REIWA and Sandra Brewer from the Property Council in Busselton as we addressed a highly engaged audience from across our respective membership on the current state of the housing market in the South West, the challenges in the supply pipeline and what government needs to do to support the private sector in ensuring we have a roof over everyone’s head.

Yesterday we had a frank and robust conversation with the Deputy Premier & Treasurer on critical levers to help industry deliver housing supply in an infill & greenfields context. We continue to work closely with the Minister for Planning on further planning reform & housing supply constraints. Today I spoke with Minister Carey, the Minister for Energy around power infrastructure challenges and the Minister for Environment about approvals & the transition to net zero.

We are fortunate that we have Cabinet Members that listen and respond. The greater challenge is ensuring the public sector that serves them follow their lead.

There is a big difference between listening and hearing. And we will be turning up the volume.

Future Ready Cities

Last Friday we were delighted to be joined by so many Industry professionals for our Industry Luncheon looking at Future Ready Cities with an insightful presentation from Sara Stace, Director of Cities at WSP.

Ms Stace’s presentation focused on the broad trends set to impact Perth; the challenges for the next 30-50 years including affordability, connectivity, health and resilience; the rise of and acceptance for 30-minute and 15-minute cities along with the importance of walkability before providing some interesting insights into what we can and need to do from here to be prepared.

One of the biggest takeaways from Ms Stace’s presentation was the importance of walkability within our suburbs and city designs as she highlighted that for every kilometre that people walk, it has a massive benefit to the economy.

“If you can get one person to walk one kilometre that has a benefit to the economy of $5.38,” Ms Stace said. “That’s based on mental health, muscular skeletal health, improved lung capacity, it reduces obesity, cancer and basically all forms of mortality are reduced just by getting somebody out and walking.”

Once this figure is then added to the other flow-on effects of people walking, such as reduced pollution, reliance on road infrastructure, etc. the total benefits to the economy are $6.85 from just one person walking one kilometre.

Ms Stace then went on to discuss the benefits of 30-minute cities whereby people are able to get to their destination within 30 minutes which includes journeys made by public transport plus any associated walk.

“For example, if you have a 20-minute train journey and a 10 minute walk, this is included under the 30 minute framework,” Ms Stace said.

“The concept comes from Marchetti’s Constant that is the average time spent by a person for commuting each day, which is approximately half an hour for a one-way trip.”

Taking this concept further Ms Stace highlighted the growing desire for 15-minute neighbourhoods whereby residents are able to accommodate their daily needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride, a concept she described as Pedestrian Orientated Development (PODs).

“This is where people can get some fresh food, get to a park, post a letter or even reach their local public transport link within 15-minutes,” she said. “This is the level of convenience we need to be reaching in our suburbs and cities.”

To make a place walkable Ms Stace identified the need for greater population density through different housing types, greater employment density, mixed land use options providing different places of interest to visit, plenty of crossing options, easily accessible public transport links as well as good tree canopy and pedestrian friendly speed limits on roads.

At the end of her presentation Ms Stace provided a set of priorities, actions and recommendations for industry and government to adopt to enable WA to produce future ready cities with one of her main recommendations being to create truly walkable neighbourhoods.

Following the presentation Natalie Busch from Hassell and Owen Thomas from InfrastructureWA joined Sara on stage for an engaging panel session as they provided their insights from a WA-centric background around how we can future-proof WA’s cities.

Big thanks to Industry Partner DevelopmentWA, Event Sponsor Glen McLeod Legal and Networking Partner for supporting this event.

To view images from the event, click here.

Ms Stace’s presentation also followed on from an article in a recent edition of The Urbanist magazine looking at Future Ready Cities. You can read this article, here.

Policy Team In Action

This week we held the Infrastructure, Climate Action, Built Form and Land Use Planning SAGs continuing to discuss and progress priority actions aligned with the UDIA WA 2023 Policy Priorities.

Key matters included:

  • The recent State Government decisions on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and Medium Density Codes and the impact on industry moving forward.
  • Industry challenges in undertaking new built form developments and developing new ideas for ways in which the systemic issues faced currently, could be lessened.
  • An update on the ongoing progress of the Western Power Land Development Process Review and the next steps of the Review.
  • The status of the State Government’s draft SERS policies, climate adaptation policies and climate change related legislation.

Ministerial Engagement

UDIA has had a significant amount of direct engagement with State Ministers this week. Beginning with a boardroom lunch with Minister Saffioti, co-hosted by ATCO, followed by meetings at the Labor Business Engagement Program with Ministers Carey, Johnston, McGurk and Whitby.

A wide range of topics were discussed with the paramount theme of ensuring housing affordability and driving supply. These topics included:

  • The cumulative impact of regulation and costs to the supply of housing.
  • Measures to support apartment supply such as extending off-the-plan concession scheme for apartments to projects under construction and removal of the foreign buyers surcharge.
  • Opportunities to leverage the Federal Government’s New Home Bonus scheme.
  • Ongoing challenges (such as the environmental assessments/approvals process and energisation of developments) and potential solutions.
  • UDIA’s Development Ready Pipeline, strategic infrastructure coordination and ensuring timely investment critical infrastructure required to deliver new development across the metropolitan region.

Intergenerational Report released

Earlier today the Federal Government released the 2023 Intergenerational Report, which projects the outlook of the economy and the Australian Government’s budget to 2062-63.

This is the sixth report but the first under the Albanese Government with Treasurer the Hon. Jim Chalmers MP highlighting that report provides a big picture view of the forces that will shape our economy and fiscal position over the next 40 years.

“This Intergenerational Report shows that Australia’s success will come down to how we manage and maximise the big shifts that are underway,” Dr Chalmers said in his Treasurer’s Forward.

Among the big shifts Dr Chalmers refers to, perhaps the biggest to how we accommodate an aging and slowing population as the reports highlights that Australians are set to live longer while having fewer children.

This shift to a more aging population makes it even more critical that we take an in-depth look at the availability of fit-for-purpose housing stock within our property market, which is why UDIA WA are pleased to invite you to join us for our Industry Breakfast, Developing to Meet Downsizer Demand.

This event will be headlined by an exclusive presentation from respected Former Chief Economist of CBA Michael Blythe and will be followed by an expert panel of industry professionals with REIWA CEO Cath Hart already confirmed and many more to be announced.

To register for this event, click here. For more information and to read the 2023 Intergenerational Report, click here.

Property and Development Roadshow kicks off in the south west

This week UDIA WA were pleased to be part of the inaugural Property & Development Roadshow – Unpacking Housing, Development and Planning Challenges & Opportunities in the South West in collaboration with REIWA and Property Council WA.

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck, along with REIWA CEO Cath Hart and Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer each provided an update on the market for the audience around the important issues of housing, development and regional planning.

In UDIA’s presentation Tanya Steinbeck said there was clear evidence to suggest a shortfall of approximately 20,000 dwellings statewide between 2023-2026.

“Based on projected household formation compared with annual dwelling supply, there is a cumulative shortfall of around 20,000 dwellings statewide over the next three years,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“While Perth will bear the brunt of that shortfall, the regions are not immune with around 5,000 of those dwellings needed in the regions. If we don’t find a way to get more stock into the development ready pipeline and out to market, the housing crisis is only set to deepen.”

For more information, read the coverage on the event here.

Draft Operational Policy 2.3: Planning for Public Open Space Submission

This week, UDIA WA formally submitted a response on the draft POS policy to DPLH. Whilst our stance on the matter has long been established, we wanted to clearly emphasise our concerns with the policy and ensure the industry’s voice is heard when determining what will happen next with this policy.

Our recommendations from the submission are as follows:

  • The application of POS cash-in-lieu requirements to survey-strata, strata title subdivision and established estates are removed from the policy.
  • It is explicitly stated within the Policy that Local Government Authorities cannot circumvent this policy and require cash-in-lieu contributions for POS for survey-strata and strata title subdivision by other means.
  • The finalisation of the policy is expedited to reduce further unnecessary uncertainty, delays, and costs to support the delivery of diverse and affordable housing supply.
  • More broadly, all new or amended policies and planning instruments with implications for the provision of diverse supply are carefully examined through a housing affordability lens, with modelling of the impacts on housing included in Regulatory Impact Statements for Cabinet Submissions.

Thank you to the members who provided their assistance in the consultation and drafting process. Our full submission can be viewed here.

Member Briefing with CoreLogic

UDIA WA are delighted to offer our members another property market update in collaboration with CoreLogic Australia at our upcoming Member Briefing on 7 September where Property Market expert Tim Lawless (Executive Research Director of CoreLogic’s Asia-Pacific research division) will provide a detailed overview of the current trends across the Western Australian property market, and his expectations for the next twelve months.

This event is exclusively available and free of charge for UDIA WA members and will tackle all the important questions including:

  • When will Perth’s median property pricing finally start forging closer to the major capitals on the East Coast?
  • How will the retraction in the forward construction pipeline impact on pricing and rents across Perth and the Regions?
  • How does the down-turn in WA’s apartment and medium density sector compare with historical and national trends?
  • And many more.

For more information and to register for the member-exclusive event, click here.

We extend our thanks to Research Partner CoreLogic Australia for providing these exclusive insights to members.

Shelter WA Symposium

UDIA WA are proud to be supporting the Community Housing Organisations (CHO) Symposium hosted by Shelter WA on Tuesday 19th September 2023. The event brings together stakeholders from the community housing, government and private sectors, to showcase the community housing industry in Western Australia.

The Innovation in Community Housing Showcase in the morning will highlight the existing achievements of the sector through presentations putting the spotlight on innovation in areas including energy efficiency, diversity and tenant engagement within the sector.

The afternoon ‘Commonwealth Funding Ready’ session will bring industry, government, the community housing sector and other key stakeholders together to identify areas of reform in systemic policy and brainstorm solutions to best leverage upcoming Commonwealth Funding for WA and attract further investment.

Professionals who are working in Community Housing, the Homelessness sector, government representatives (local, state and federal) and sector allies such as developers and builders should all attend this event.

Ticket price includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

Ticket sales for the full day event close 4 pm Saturday 9th September.

For more information and to book your tickets visit here.

Western Power’s largest underground project complete

This week Energy Minister Bill Johnston announced the completion of Western Power’s largest underground power project throughout St James, East Victoria Park and Bentley.

Western Power removed 821 poles and 34 kilometres of overhead cable, and installed 542 new streetlights and around 53 kilometres of underground cable.

Residents and businesses in the areas will now enjoy improved safety and reliability and transformed streetscapes.

Western Power worked with the City of Canning and Town of Victoria Park to deliver the project, providing underground power to 2,276 residents and businesses.

The project is the third of nine undergrounding projects to be completed under Western Power’s Network Renewal Undergrounding Program Pilot.

Undergrounding project areas are identified based on Western Power’s network driven approach to replace ageing overhead assets with underground power.

The cost of undergrounding is shared between the State Government, Western Power, local governments and property owners.